Before your youth-obsessed aunt makes another quick run to the dermatologist to touch up her Botox or Restylane, you might want to point her in the direction of a new study which has found that using muscle-deadening facial fillers can impair your ability to understand other people’s emotions.
A joint research project conducted between Duke (the school) and the University of Southern California has found that people who can’t move their faces can’t really process what it means when other people move theirs. And that’s a bad thing:
“People who use Botox are less able to read others’ emotions,” says [David] Neal, who worked with a researcher at Duke University in Durham, N.C.
People read emotions partly by mimicking facial expressions, Neal says, so “if muscular signals from the face to the brain are dampened, you’re less able to read emotions.”
The study pitted a group of women who had Botox or Restylane injections against a group of men and women who’s faces had been treated with muscle amplifiers. Then both groups had to look at images of people on a computer and identify the emotions those people appeard to be feeling. The women with the facial fillers couldn’t keep up with the other group. (Is it wrong that when we first read this story, we thought of a bunch of Stepford wives mistaking regret for constipation?)
We’d be interested to see what implications Botox has on a dude’s ability to feel what other people are feeling, but that’s another post for another day. For now, it seems like there really is a greater cost to getting facial fillers than the few hundred dollars the procedures can cost. It seems to us that being numb to the people around you way overshadows how good Botox might make you look.