Can plastic surgery change the way we perceive feelings? According to new research, people who use Botox or Restalyne to smooth out lines and wrinkles are less likely to interpret the emotions and feelings of others accurately. David Neal, a psychology professor at the University of Southern California and lead author of the research said, “People who use Botox are less able to read others’ emotions.” Neal, who worked with a researcher at Duke University in Durham, N.C., went on to add, “When the facial muscles are dampened, you get worse in emotion perception, and when the facial muscles are amplified, you get better at emotion perception.” The results were similar to previous findings from a study conducted last year at Columbia University by psychologist Joshua Davis. He commented about the recent research and agreed that the findings “would suggest that facial expression is an integral component of what we consider our emotional experience. Certainly the concept is one that fits with the research we did.”
Fillers such as Botox and Restalyne have been popular choices for minimally invasive plastic surgery procedures for nearly twenty years. Most people who receive the injections are very satisfied with the results, and there have been no complaints to surgeons that the procedure has left the patient feeling less perceptive.
People use fillers to increase their sense of self-satisfaction and self-image. By decreasing the visible signs of aging, patients are able to appear physically younger and that transformation can have deep psychological implications. Experts warn patients to think carefully about these new findings before they say goodbye to those frown lines. In a related article, Neal advises people to “consider whether these procedures are having any indirect costs — reducing their ability to empathize and understand people’s emotions.”
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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