A recent research has shown that it is not the facial expression alone but also the body language, that help us detect and understand the emotions of people. The eyes are no longer the only window to the soul.
The researchers believe that as against the popular belief, a mere glance on the face of a person is not sufficient enough to tell us whether he/she is in a state of elation or depression.
AdvertisementSome people profess to be able to read other's face but it is the body language that actually tells us whether a person is feeling positive or negative.
In a study published in the Science journal, participants were shown pictures of tennis players just after winning or losing a point.
The volunteers of the study were asked to read their expression and then give their opinion about how and what the players felt.
In some cases full body of the players were shown while in others either their body or face was shown to the study participants.
The volunteers who saw the entire images could clearly tell whether a player was winning or losing, but were convinced of having made their evaluations from the facial expressions of the players.
The scientists from Princeton and New York Universities and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem conducted another study where the participants were shown a variety of faces portraying strong emotions such as pleasure, victory, joy, defeat and grief.
Using trick photography the experts attached the faces to the bodies showing contrasting emotions and asked the participants to enact the sentiments they noticed in the photos.
The scientist observed that people were able to mimic the body poses and not the facial expressions. This threw light on the fact that people interpret largely from the cues in the body and not from the facial expressions.
Dr. Hillel Aviezer, the lead author said, "These results show that when emotions become extremely intense, the difference between positive and negative facial expression blurs."
He further added, "The results may help researchers understand how body/face expressions interact during emotional situations. For example, individuals with autism may fail to recognize facial expressions, but perhaps if trained to process important body cues, their performance may significantly improve."
The findings suggested that when someone's emotional state is to be assessed, we do not rely merely on facial expressions.
Your Body Says More About Your Emotions Than Your Face Does, Business Insider