News Item: Emotions

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Frown Muscle Needed for
Recognizing Negative Emotions

Better think twice before getting that shot of Botox between the brows.

Putting on an emotional face activates areas of the brain responsible for the subjective experience of that feeling.  Without that link, scientists have discovered, recognizing related emotions in others becomes more difficult and creates a disadvantage in social situations.

In research described in Science News, women who had received Botox injections took longer to read sentences describing angry or sad situations than they did for descriptions of happy situations.  Because the shots paralyze frown muscles, researchers hypothesize that they gradually erode the connection between those muscles and the neural networks involved in coordinating negative emotions.

Not sure about the validity of these findings?  Break into an authentic grin and notice how that brightens your mood.  Turn down the corners of your mouth and see what happens.  Then reflect on what life would be like without the ability to experience anger.