Becoming wrinkle-free does have its downsides

27th April 2011

People who use Botox to keep the wrinkles away may look amazing, but the treatment does have its bad points, as new research has shown those who have it may not be able to read other people's emotions as well as they could before.

Scientists at the University of Southern California found that people who have Botox to get rid of their tell-tale lines and wrinkles have difficulty interacting with other people as their ability to read and respond to other people's facial expressions is reduced.

Lead researcher Professor David Neal said this was because we read expressions partly by mimicking the other person's facial expressions. When the muscles are frozen we are unable to do that, making detection of a genuine smile, disgust and other expressions more difficult.

Professor Neal said: "When you mimic you get a window into their inner world. When we can't mimic, as with Botox, that window is a little darker. 'Human communication can be a very subtle thing. When you eliminate a slice of information - whether by communicating through email and Twitter or by paralyzing your own facial muscles - it can be the difference between successful communication and failure."

TV presenter Anne Robinson recently defended her use of Botox, which she uses regularly.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

1. Neal, David. "Embodied Emotion Perception: Amplifying and Dampening Facial Feedback Modulates Emotion Perception Accuracy." Social Psychological and Personality Science. 21st April 2011.

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