A new study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison used Botox to test how the inability to make facial expressions affects emotional centers in the brain. Botox is a powerful nerve poison used to deactivate facial muscles.
Subjects were asked to read sentences that expressed anger, sadness and happiness. Subject had no problems understanding the happy sentences, but took more time to read the angry and sad sentences.
An important role of feeling and expressing emotion is the fostering of social connection. This study suggests that when we can’t move our facial muscles, we are less able to resonate with others’ emotions and telegraph a lack of empathy.