Only Four Facial Expressions Researchers Claim

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We’ve all heard the phrase or been told directly that  ”you wear your heart on your sleeve,” but according to a recent research study, we actually wear them on our faces in four unique and revealing facial expressions. Scientists used to believe human beings portrayed their emotions in six facial expressions rather than in four. These are: happiness, sadness, surprise, anger, disgust and fear. The University of Glasgow researchers beg to differ. According to their research, they found that humans only possess four distinct facial expressions. The researchers made their discovery by inspecting and studying human facial muscles in order to understand how they form expressions and thus, display differing emotions. The University of Glasgow actually invented a “Generative Face Grammar” platform to examine and study facial movements and muscles.


According to new research, there are only four unique facial expressions.

As far as human emotions go, researches found that the facial expressions that denote fear and surprise are similar in that both emotions trigger wide-eyed and open-mouthed facial movements.  Happiness and sadness, on the other hand, are clearly different and distinct from each other. When angered or disgusted, humans often wrinkle their noses which gives away their feelings instantly. Facial expression seems to follow evolutionary behavior and instincts in humans. For instance, the researchers associated the wide-eyed, fearful gaze with the human being expanding his or her visual awareness or capacity in order to search for the best survival option or escape path.

Glasgow’s “Generative Face Grammar” uses cameras to take photos of human beings who are able to activate all forty-two facial muscles at once. It was through this method that researches found that human beings used four complex facial expressions to express emotions rather than the original six they thought. In order for researches at the University of Glasgow to learn more about these facial expressions, they intend to travel to different parts of the globe and test this theory on people within different cultures. This way the scientists will have a more exact understanding of human expression. Next time you think you are disguising your emotions, be careful. Your facial muscles reveal more than you expect and can easily give away what you are thinking.

via Faisal Anwar Virginia


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