Muscles and Facial Expression
By contracting, the muscles pull on the skin and exert their effects. They are the only group of muscles that insert into skin. These muscles have a common embryonic origin – the 2nd pharyngeal arch. They migrate from the arch, taking their nerve supply with them. As such, all the muscles of facial expression are innervated by the facial nerve. The facial muscles can broadly be split into three groups: orbital, nasal and oral.
People tend to believe nonverbal signs of communication more than the actual words because it is harder to mask the emotions behind them and they show through. Reading and interpreting these nonverbal cues is valuable skill. It is useful in all different types of relationships every day. Different cultures focus their attention on various parts of the face making this form on nonverbal communication different among cultures. In America we look at the face in its entirety as opposed to Easterners who concentrate more on just the eyes. This is shown through emoticons as well as in person. (“Facial expressions,”)When Westerners email or send a text message the emoticon s show a mouth smiling or frowning. Easterner’s emoticons have bigger eyes and the mouth is usually a straight across line. Westerner’s emoticons eyes are usually represented by dots. The differences in these show where different cultures focus their attention on and what they find most important. Often, people tend to mimic the facial expression of the person who is talking to them. It is said that this is an unconscious act so people don’t always know when they are doing it. Some researchers have said it is a behavior we learn, for that reason it is different among cultures. These expressions are said to be so powerful that they can influence an emotional experience without the perceiver actually going through the experience. These influential gestures have the ability to make people empathize with one another. This made me think of the saying smile, it’s contagious. I have noticed if I’m having a bad day and a random stranger smile at me I return the smile and sometime that puts me in a better mood. Even if my mood it just changes a little, it is still a strong tool. I believe facial expressions are a very powerful form of communication. I believe if we utilize them correctly they can be very persuasive and help us in our day to day lives.
The shedding of tears in sadness or joy, the reddening of the face and the pearls of sweat on ones forehead in anger or love, the blushing of the face and averting of gaze in embarrassment or shame, the dilating pupils indicating social interest and trust, happiness or stress are just examples of emotion signals that have received very little attention in the literature. Studying emotion perception beyond the face muscles including the perception of autonomic signals and the synchronization therewith is a promising avenue for future research.
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