Most of us know about Botox, the cosmetic drug used to freeze muscles, thus eliminating lines and furrows on the face. But if you can't show emotion, can you still feel it? A new study says limiting your facial expression of emotion may also effect your ability to feel that emotion.
According to WebMD.com, research by Joshua Ian Davis, PhD, a term assistant professor in the department of psychology at Barnard College in New York City, shows at least some correlation between making an expression and feeling emotion. “For at least some emotions, if you take away some part of the facial expression, you take away some of the emotional experience,” says Dr. Davis.
Here is what the study found: participants who received Botox injections self-reported less emotional response to some emotional video clips, and as a result, did not feel their emotions quite as deeply as their control group counterparts. Before you are tempted to make a facial expression of horror, please note that the dampened emotional reaction was related to only mildly emotional clips, which could suggest that the strength of the emotional impulse may make a difference.
Davis noted that his initial work needs further study.
Some experts told WebMD that the study was interesting but preliminary, and conclusions should not yet be drawn. Representatives of Allergan Inc., manufacturer of Botox go as far as calling media coverage of the study inaccurate. According to an email from Allergan spokesperson Kellie Lao to WebMD, “There is no conclusive evidence in the medical literature that supports the hypothesis that preventing a facial expression will decrease emotional experience, and this study’s findings does not support the theory that facial expression is necessary to trigger an emotional experience."
Despite these reassurances, if you are still worried that Botox might affect your feelings, but still want to plump those facial wrinkles, here is a bit of good news. Subjects in the study who had their facial lines filled with Restylane had no notable changes in their emotions, either on their face, or in their head.