In Your Face – Mind Field (Ep 7)

published on July 12, 2020

If I asked you to show me a picture ofyour mother you wouldn't show me aclose-up shot of her elbow but you couldand you'd be right that would be a photoof her but it wouldn't feel rightbecause it's not her face that's how

Important faces are to us we're gonnasee if forcing a facial expression canchange the way we feel are youcomfortable handling dog feces okay andif you remove the ability to make facialexpressions will it affect how you

Perceive emotions in others no I don'tthink so and what are we saying byraising an eyebrow do you knowwhy does doing this make me look angryand why does doing this make me look sohappy

Where does all this stuff come from whenit comes to interpersonal communicationit's easy to think that speech dominatesbut yet we have hairless faces that'svery unique among mammals that are easyto see expressions on facial expressions

Are shared across humanity a smile is asmile in any language our faces seemuniquely adapted for communicationbefore we developed language facialexpressions may have been just as vitalin communication as shouts and grunts

And we of course still use them todaybut when it comes to facial expressionsit's not just about seeing otherpeople's expressions and having them seeyours it's also about seeing your ownand the fact that our eyes are deep set

Allows us to see our own facialexpressions as we're making them if yousmileyou can see your own cheeks riseslightly and if you furrow your brow itencroaches on the top of your vision

These things give you instant feedbackon the degree to which you're alteringyour face and tell you instantly whatsort of expression you're putting outinto the world no mirror requiredsome of the most interesting experiments

On facial expressions have asked whatcomes first the emotion or the facialexpression studies have found that ifyou hold a pencil between your teeth allday you will have a better day why wellbecause holding a pencil between your

Teeth without your lips touching is likesmiling it uses pretty much the samemuscles watch I don't know I don't knowI'm smiling but I amconversely person your lips around thepencil is like frowning and studies have

Found that if someone does that theywill actually report having a less goodday well we're gonna put that to thetest and find out if the facialcontortions you make can subconsciouslyaffect how you feel

Studies on how physiology affects moodgo as far back as the 1800s with earlyresearch carried out by Charles Darwinand French neurologist Duchenne deBoulognethis work is continued into present day

Using various techniques to createsmiles and frowns but findings have beeninconsistent as to whether facialexpressions can influence emotions so wewanted to see if we could demonstrate acorrelation between the two

Hi hi come on in guys Chris my name'sMichael nice to meet you my name isMichael we've recruited 20 volunteerswho think they're taking part in anallergy study today we are testing a newkind of dog food and it actually seems

To help dogs produce fewer allergens sopeople who are allergic to dogs might bemore comfortable around them and we'regoing to be using these allergens sticksnow the purpose of this stick is tocollect saliva to check the way your

Body reacts to possible allergens in theair put it between your teeth like okayokay half of our participants will beunknowingly forced into a smile theother half will unwittingly be forced touse their frown muscles watch my teeth

At art together and then got it we'regoing to give the frown errs and thesmilers the same two tasks will thepeople who were forced to frown rankeach task lower than those made to smileto test their levels of happiness our

Actor Trin gave our subjects a taskeverybody loves puppy herding with lotsand lots of puppies first up are oursmilers and they're all wearing littletags so your job is to line them up inalphabetical order once you got them all

Lined up I'll snap a photo of you okaywe've got three minutes to do itstarting nowmake sure they're in alphabetical orderFrank stay up there they're naming thedogs

Your sheep swap those two got one minuteleft I think this looks like fun but arethey having even more fun becausethey're being forced to smile all rightour smilers are laughing and goofingaround fantastic

Now let's see how our frown errs reactto this fun task three minutes he'srunning away from youthe question is will frowning emphasizethe parts that aren't fun in your mindat least the one little straggler right

Over here if the frown errs seem a bitfrustrated hurting puppies mm-hmm howwill they like their next task if youwould each grab pair of glovesare you comfortable handling dog fecesokay and we're also going to be looking

At whether there are any proteindeposits that have collected in thefecal matter she's like are you seriousso go ahead and spread it out on thetableoh not happy and what you're looking for

Are small hard deposits not muchindication that there's a smile tryingto come through okay great thank youthat'll do it our frown errs don't seemto be enjoying this assignment will thesmilers have a different reaction grab a

Pair of gloves it may be easier to kindof smear it and spread it out thehypothesis is that by smiling they'llfocus more on the funny aspects of whatthey're about to do yeah kind of feelslike wheat balls there's disgust in his

Eyes and his brow but his mouth can'thelp but smileokay great guys thank you so much andthen when you're ready just follow meand we'll do a debrief with mr Stevensure hey welcome back now think about

Organizing the puppies and take you tophoto of hmm and how you felt tell mewhat you were thinking and feeling whileyou were doing that task I mean thepuppies are extremely cute mm-hmm can Ikeep one is it cool with you guys the

Dogs actually cooperated pretty well Iwas able to put them in orderthey're amazing everything's stressfulso on a scale of one to ten where one isyou cannot tolerate it tenbest day of your life how would you rank

The puppy photo task yes I like a 9 10 88 8 a 9 that's an average of 85 fromour small sample of 10 subjects who wereforced to smile during the photoassignment now let's see how the frownwas rated the same task how did you feel

While you were doing that with youbecause they kept moving around well itwas difficult getting on the stay inplace and flipping the order how wouldyou rank the photo taking tasks beforeabout for time I loved salvation yeah I

Would go more in the middle ground maybelike 5 many of the frown errs reportedfeeling frustrated with this experiencetallying an average score of 74 morethan a point lower than the smilers nowlet's talk about the poop checking job

Very unpleasant how would you rank thepoop chicken zero possible our frowningsubjects averaged a low score of 19 thequestion is did our smiling group feelany better about digging through poo itwasn't too uncomfortable I was sort of

Unexpected but it wasn't like itbothered me I wasn't like disgusted likeyou know this is just gonna just kind ofheld my breathmany of our smilers reported thisunpleasant task as being no big deal or

Actually funny I'd say a 5 because Iwasn't neither here nor there for meit's a 5 a high 4 5 5 the average scorefor the smiling group was 43 out of 10smilers enjoyed sifting through poop anaverage of two and a half points more

Than our founders and have a great day Ifelt like your people I will I always doour tests found that people who madesmile faces enjoyed tasks more and thosewho frowned enjoyed them less thisfacial feedback concept is still being

Debated though and other studies haverecently failed to reproduce thesefindings but it's a very healthy thingthat we don't just look at one test andsay well that's it that must be thetruth we're done in the words of Brian

Nosek lead researcher of thereproducibility project science isn'tabout truth and falsity it's aboutreducing uncertaintyfacial expressions are so important tohuman communication that people develop

Ways to read your face even if theycan't see it Tommy thanks for coming tovisit thanks for having me this is triedlove what you've done with the placehey thank you so much what I would liketo talk about is facial expressions all

Right sirbecause Tommy you have been blind sinceyou were born that's right how did youlearn about facial expressions becauseyou make them you smileI've never seen you mad but I bet if you

Get mad yeah you I can tell ya when I'mlaughing I smile right it just comesnaturally so that ports innatethat part is innate absolutely it is noquestion but in order to imitate it thatwas the tricky part for me right cuz

Sometimes I smile like too much you knowlike that I don't know like I feel likethat's pushing it too hard that's notreally natural but you know so it'sprobably somewhere around here I guessso could you make an angry face for me

Right now that's close but do you thinkif you'd seen an angry face it would beeasier to fake one yes I think so let meask you this can you tell what facialexpression I'm making well when whenyou're smiling I can hear it any voice

Right it's it's very obvious becausewhen you smile you your lips don'treally touch the right way so letterslike m and B and P for example and youknow they sound just a little bitdifferent right so it sounds like you

Know more about how a smile affectsspeech than most sighted people wouldthank you there's a lot of audible cluesthat help me to get the facialexpression well Tommy thank you so muchfor coming in I love having guests in my

Home thank you sir thank youwhen we look at other people's faceswe often subconsciously imitate theirfacial expressionsit's called facial memory and it's a wayfor us to let other people know we

Understand them that we feel the samethings that they feel facial Mary beginsin infancy and continues throughout ourlives studies have shown that if youcan't facially mirror if you can'texpress things with your own face you

Actually have trouble understanding whatother people's faces are expressing soto try that outlet's hinder some people's facialmuscles what's a good way to do thatwell how about a dose of botulinum toxin

We have gathered a group of volunteersfor a facial expression recognitionexperiment thank you all for coming intodaywe're going to begin with a test a testof your ability to recognize facial

Expressions our participants will beshown pictures of eyes expressing eitherpositive or negative emotions your taskis to look at each face and the decidewhich of those four emotions the face isexpressing make sense each photo is

Designed to display one standard emotionthat is known to elicit an establishedconsensus for example in this photo whatemotion would you identify if you saidterrified you'd be in the majority nowit's our participants turn okay everyone

Ready goall right moving on to number two formost people this is a simple task thatshould come with a relatively highsuccess rateall right cart number six number nine

Number thirteen nineteen hour twelveparticipants will give us an idea of howwell the average person identifiesemotions and twenty five all righteveryonegreat work I hope you had fun thank you

For your timeafter 25 cards our participants wereable to identify the correct positiveemotion seventy-seven percent of thetime and the correct negative emotionseventy eight point eight percent of the

Time but how will they do if we stopthem from marrying the expressions theysee by freezing their faces with Botoxwe forced all of these participants toreceive Botox injections nice to me toojust kidding they were going to do it

Anyway and they let us tag along in thename of scienceI'd like to do this okay okay I wouldlike to fix this part between my twoeyebrows because I feel like I don'tknow I just look older and grumpy

Although we communicate a ton ofinformation with our faces in theinterest of looking younger many peoplepay to be injected with a chemical thatessentially renders our faces mute orrather gives us a sort of facial speech

ImpedimentBotox was first used in the 1970s totreat muscular eye disorders likecrossed eyes and uncontrollable blinkingthe FDA didn't approve the use of Botoxfor cosmetic procedures until 2002 the

Active ingredient in Botox is a toxinproduced by the bacterium Clostridiumbotulinum this toxin can cause botulismin larger amounts but in smaller amountswhen injected into say the wrinklesbetween your eyebrows or around your

Mouth the toxin blocks the nerves fromdelivering signals to the facial musclestelling them to contractput your hair back a little bit and thentell me what areas you were thinking ofgetting into done so I was thinking here

Cuz I have a couple wrinkles that arestarting to show I'm 31 years old and Iwant to get Botox because I want to lookyoung forever Oh common expressions thatpeople want to get rid of is the angrylines the furrows we get in between the

Eyes and the horizontal wrinkles we getin our forehead that will go away if theBotox procedure prevents these patientsfrom being able to mirror the facialexpressions of others will it alsoimpede their ability to recognize the

Emotions associated with thoseexpressions have you had Botox before Inever have do you want to toucheverything if I can yeah definitely Ithink Botox is probably going to changemy expressions and I might have to

Overdo them a little bit but I alreadydo that anyways though I think it won'tmatter so much you doing okay mm-hmmwe'll soon explore whether paralyzingtheir facial muscles affects how thesepeople score on the facial expression

Recognition test you may not see theresults for at least three to seven daysokay we'll check back in with oursubjects in two weeks after they'vesettled into their new expression freefaces in the meantime let's meet two

People who've had modified faces forquite a while LaciJustin thanks for coming overgood to see you so I'm so thrilled tohave both of you here how does it feelto be known as the Ken and Barbie of

Real life I don't know the world justsend me of that and then I happen tomeet my best bestie that is hey and whatabout you did you intend to be like aKindle or no I mean initially initiallythis how all had to do with the passion

That I had for like Body Sculpture rightI just did what I loved and I saw thisas a medium to be to be creative to beopen to be expressive and to bedifferent right to set myself apart sohave the first person the world to have

Three piece shoulder implants we arefirst people to try that right we arewe're our own guinea pigs we're our ownwe wear our own dr Frankenstein andFrankenstein right okay so have both ofyou had Botox done

Absolutely every every three monthssince I've been 25 years oldhow has Botox or other procedures onyour face affected your ability to makefacial expressions I've waited a year tohave it this year so I could actually

See a little bit of my own face becausemy kids are like mom you know we can'treally tell if you're mad at you alwayslook like you're surprised I'm likewalking around the house like this I'mplaying off so I'm gonna have you talk

To me here just again I want to be ableto do this go to your room yeahinteresting do you feel like you've lostsomething by not being able to show whenyou're mad now you can tell us mother Ijust don't have those lines here a

Little bit of a subtle change have younoticedBotox affecting your ability to readother people's facial expressionsno it would be no no you haven't noticedthat not at all Barbie and Ken may not

Ascribe to the facial mirroring theorybut let's check back in with our Botoxrecipients it's been two weeks and nowthey've brought their wrinkle-free facesback to see if their limited expressionswill affect their ability to read

Emotions so to refresh you on the ruleslook at the eyes determine what emotionis being conveyed and write down youranswer and then we'll move on to thenext one gomy face feels a lot more relaxed and

It's kind of nice okay slide number ninewhen I look at people they don't reallyknow that I'm angrygive me a moving on upset face actuallycamp I did have a friend she noticed shegets Botox to him she was like your

Botox looks amazing if I'm angryprobably how you would know is by yourmy eye contact with you because becauseI can't move my forehead this subjecthas definitely limited her ability tomake a facial expression as have our

Other Botox recipients but will thataffect how they interpret emotions inothers alright just 75 more kiddingAthena the exams before they receivedBotox our participants correctlyidentified seventy seven percent of the

Positive emotions and seventy eightpoint eight percent of the negativeemotions but after receiving Botox ourparticipants correctly identified onlyseventy three point eight percent of thepositive emotions and sixty eight point

Eight percent of the negative emotionsso at least in our modest sample onceour participants lost their ability tofrown they found it especially difficultto identify negative emotions in othersbut if modern advances like Botox can

Impede our capacity to read other spacescan other forms of technology enhanceour ability to see emotions author andtheoretical neurobiologist mark Changizihas developed a scientific way to readfacial expressions mark I'm glad you

Came over because you have knowledgeabout facial expressions and what'sgoing on beyond just the vote moreobvious external stuff is blood flowpart of facial expressions yeah so wedon't usually think about it but at all

Times you're seeing these subtlemodulation of color and as you get moreblood or less blood into the skin itbecomes blue or yellow er and as itbecomes more or less oxygenated itbecomes red or a greener and this is

True independence of what ethnicity youare what race you are or what kind ofprimate you are is the same whatemotions correlate to what colors sothere's a rough sense in which whenyou're angry you're showing oxygenated

Blood when you're sad it's more likelyto be showing green or you're fearfulyour blood pumps away from the peripherywhich means it gets yellow er so markyou've brought some tools with you aninvention of yours actually that helps

Us better perceive these color changesthat's right so these are whatparamedics wear because they're niceprotective eyewear that you should bewearing anyway and when you wear theseyour veins suddenly they're glowing a

Little bit the same technology thathelps paramedics see veins it alsoallows you to see emotions betterbecause it's enhancing that sameoxygenation signal that those emotionsrely upon so you've got glasses that

Allow us to better see the colors thatare related to emotion and how it'saffected by blood flow that's right thisis not the kind of thing it's not likeyou look at it says angry you knowwritten across the screen no it works on

Your normal intuitions yeah it is thatit makes those signals easier to seejust should give you more insight intowhat their mood but there's intent iswhether through technology or evolutionwe humans have always found a way to

Read and use facial expressions andthose expressions show no signs ofbecoming less important unless we evolvepast faces of courseso did you like the show if you didn'tput a pencil in your mouth and go watch

It again if you enjoy it more or less orthe same just let us knowscience will thank you and as alwaysthanks for watching

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