People who receive Botox injections eliminate the ability to have clear facial expressions, according to a new study published in, Social Psychological and Personality Science. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Botulinum Toxin Type injection was the most common form of cosmetic procedure performed in the U.S. in 2010.
Study researcher David R. Neal, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Southern California, reports that many people get these injections to live up to society's standards, ignoring the fact they may lose their facial expressions.
“People read other’s emotions partly by mimicking their facial expression," Neal explains. Facial expressions give a clue about how the other person was and you mimic the signal. The sixth sense is lost if we don’t engage in the mimicry of the expressions.
In this study, one group of people were assigned to Botox injections that paralyze the muscles, while the other group had soft tissue filling to add tissues to the facial folds. The accuracy in the reading of the facial expressions of the people was less in the group who had Botox injections, when compared to those who were in the other group. It is not known whether these people try to make up for this lost ability in some other ways. It is possible that the more Botox you have, the worse your ability to read others emotions.
He also explains that the effect seen in this study is only subtle and people do not become automatons because of Botox injections. According to Joshua Ian Davis, PhD, a psychologist at Barnard College in New York City, the study results are interesting from the perspective of a social psychology context. “It extends to a person’s understanding about their ability to read other’s emotions along with feeling their own," he remarks.
Andrew Jacono, MD, a facial plastic surgeon in New York City, feels that this study is applicable only to those who use large amounts of Botox injections. He says that one can have normal facial expressions unless and until it is treated with so much of Botox that one cannot move the forehead. The main objective of Botox is to do it in a subtle way so you can look better and also maintain the ability to read the facial expressions.