Botox and Facial Feedback


Botox is relentlessly showcased by countless numbers of 'good-looking' celebrities. The precedure has become so common on T.V., that the public's attitude toward Botox has mostly changed from being an unatural thing that people with low self confidence do, to a fad that everyone with 'unsightly' wrinkles should undergo.
The number of Botox injections have been steadily increasing every year. But how does this common precedure that paralyses facial muscles and temporarily reverses the physical effects of aging, play on humans everyday emotions?

The Facial Feedback Hypothesis states that blood vessels in the face, feed back temperature information in the brain, and in return alters our experience of emotions. But Botox works by paralysing facial muscles associated with emotion. Specifically, Botox permanently blocks acetylcholine receptors on the muscle side of the "neuromuscular junction." (People regain muscle movement as months progress, this is because the muscle is forced to develop new receptor sites and slowly regains ability to begin contracting again.)

One essential way we read the feelings of others is by mimicking their facial expressions. But if our facial muscles cannot move, there is much less muscular feedback from our faces to our brains. This creates huge difficulty in helping us to decide which emotions the expressions are corresponding to.

According to David Neal, a professor of psychology at the University of Southern California, "[David Neal] maintains that having Botox injections to smooth out wrinkles, interferes with our ability to fully mimick expressions of others, thus dulling our ability to accurately perceive and interpret the emotions we are trying to read."
To be more specific, Botox is mostly used for paralysing muscles that are essential to expressing and mimicking negative emotions. This leads to a significant decrease in the strength of experiencing our own emotions and inhibits our ability to empathize with others negative emotions. In summary, Botox inhibits our own ability to interpret, feel, and express important negative human emotions creating significant difficulty in expressing our own emotions and empathizing with others.


Nice tie in with different aspects we've talked about in the class (facial feedback hypothesis and emotions).

You raise some valid points. At the same time, when applied properly or when used for medically valid reasons, botox can be justified in helping some patients.

Several cases of bad Botox or Botox gone wrong occur around the world. Botox is a sensitive procedure and requires full expertise of a cosmetic specialist to perform.

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This page contains a single entry by sherb031 published on November 5, 2011 2:31 PM.

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