Imitate facial expressions someone else helps us better understand their emotions.
As an old and well-known saying affirms: Smile and the world smile with you. And is that gesturing implies certain face movements which are often found associated with an emotion or feeling concrete. The smile is a clear example of this. When a person smilespeople around you start to feel better because in a way consciously or unconsciously, they are smiling with her. At least, as stated in an article published in Cell.
The authors of the study, Paula Niedenthaly Adrienne Wood, psychologists from the University of Wisconsin, describe how human beings usuallysimulate the facial expressions of others during a social interaction, in order to reproduce a adequate emotional response in ourself.
Smiling is contagious and crying too
If we return to the example of the smile, we will understand better how facial mica works. When we are around someone who seems happy, our empathy leads us to imitate this person's expression almost without realizing it. And it is so, smiling ourselves, as we are capable of associate this gesture with past own experiencesWe can recognize how the other person feels.
By reflecting emotions in one's feelings, a kind ofrecognition that allows us interact in the most appropriate way with the other person (approach us, leave them alone, etc). That is why we also recognize gestures linked to feelings of sadness or anger, which we reproduce to better understand those around us. Our reaction to simulating facial expressions changes our perception of facial expressions, and so we gain more information about their true meaning, Niedenthal says.
When the tie is not an easy task
However, not all of us have this imitation monkey ability. People with facial paralysis produced after a stroke, those who suffer from Bell's palsy or even those whose nerves have been damaged by plastic surgeryhave inhibited their ability to imitate facial gestures. Individuals with congenital paralysisinstead they develop alternative ways to compensate for this skill that they have never had, and thus be able to interpret in some way the emotions of others.
In the case of autismYou may also experience problems associated with facial mica and emotional recognition. These symptoms are often due to lack of eye contact, so sometimes it is enough to stimulate visual communication to automatically favor the face music.
The researchers are after the search of the brain mechanism specifically charged with recognizing facial expressions. A better understanding of the sensorimotor simulation will help us more effectively treat disorders related to it in the future.