Psychology & Psychiatry

Understanding feelings: When less is more

A facial expression or the sound of a voice can say a lot about a person's emotional state; and how much they reveal depends on the intensity of the feeling. But is it really true that the stronger an emotion, the more intelligible ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Mothers' depression impacts mother-infant relationships

In a study funded by National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) researchers examined whether depression, either before or during pregnancy, affects the mother-infant relationship. ...

Autism spectrum disorders

Using data science for early detection of autism

Autism spectrum disorder can be detected as early as six to twelve months old and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all children be screened between twelve and eighteen months of age.

Psychology & Psychiatry

How do our facial expressions influence how we see others' pain?

How do our facial expressions in response to seeing others in pain influence how we see and feel their pain? There are many situations where it may be helpful to suppress our emotional responses to the pain of others. For ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Only 2% of conversations end when we want them to

Everyone's familiar with the sensation of being trapped in a conversation for too long—be that over the garden fence or by the office water cooler. On the other end of the spectrum, we've also experienced conversations ...

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Facial expression

A facial expression results from one or more motions or positions of the muscles of the face. These movements convey the emotional state of the individual to observers. Facial expressions are a form of nonverbal communication. They are a primary means of conveying social information among humans, but also occur in most other mammals and some other animal species.

Humans can adopt a facial expression as a voluntary action. However, because expressions are closely tied to emotion, they are more often involuntary. It can be nearly impossible to avoid expressions for certain emotions, even when it would be strongly desirable to do so; a person who is trying to avoid insult to an individual he or she finds highly unattractive might nevertheless show a brief expression of disgust before being able to reassume a neutral expression. The close link between emotion and expression can also work in the other direction; it has been observed that voluntarily assuming an expression can actually cause the associated emotion.[citation needed]

Some expressions can be accurately interpreted even between members of different species- anger and extreme contentment being the primary examples. Others, however, are difficult to interpret even in familiar individuals. For instance, disgust and fear can be tough to tell apart.[citation needed]

Because faces have only a limited range of movement, expressions rely upon fairly minuscule differences in the proportion and relative position of facial features, and reading them requires considerable sensitivity to same. Some faces are often falsely read as expressing some emotion, even when they are neutral, because their proportions naturally resemble those another face would temporarily assume when emoting.[citation needed]

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