Botox: More than skin deep?

A new study out of Barnard College in New York shows that the wrinkle-buster Botox not only diminishes your ability to express emotion (a serious problem for actors),  it could also decrease your ability to feel emotions as well. The research finds that an emotional experience may be part of a feedback loop, where facial expressions provide feedback to the brain, which in turn influences emotion.

Joshua Davis, study co-author and psychology professor, explains to LiveScience:

“With Botox, a person can respond otherwise normally to an emotional event, [such as] a sad movie scene, but will have less movement in the facial muscles that have been injected, and therefore less feedback to the brain about such facial expressivity.”

The research team showed participants emotional video clips before and after they were injected with either Botox or Restylane. The latter was used as the control since it does not limit muscle movement.

In comparison to those who received Restylane, participants that had Botox showed a significant decrease in the intensity of their emotional experience, LiveScience reports. The study also found that the Botox group did not respond as strongly to mildly positive clips after they had been injected.

The study is published in the June issue of the journal Emotion.

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