Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Where did you learn that smile?

Or did you know it all along? That grin of triumph, the pout of unhappiness, are you doing it because you've seen other people do it, or because it just feels natural to you? If you hadn't seen other people expressing their emotions, would you still use the same expressions yourself?

Yes, you would. It turns out that some emotional responses are hard-wired, and not something that you learn. A study of blind and sighted athletes showed similar expressions on the faces of both blind and sighted winners (and similar expressions of disappointment on blind and sighted losers). Even athletes who were blind from birth "knew" how to express happiness and disappointment on their faces without seeing other people do it.

I don't really have any jokes to make about it, it's just kind of interesting.

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The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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