When it comes to non-verbal communication, is your facial language leaving others lost in translation?
TORONTO, April 22, 2013 /CNW/ - Ever been told you look grumpy, upset or sad - when you don't feel that way at all? We all know with age comes wisdom and experience, but unfortunately, age can also bring unwanted lines and wrinkles which can often be misinterpreted as negative facial expressions. Results from a new Canadian surveyi show that women seem to be walking a fine line between what they mean to reveal and what their faces actually say. According to the survey, more than a third of Canadian women say they feel that as they've aged their facial expressions give off the wrong message about them to others and these same women also report receiving more negative than positive comments from others about their looks.ii
"I see women in my clinic every day who complain about wrinkles on their faces that have developed over time, particularly those between the eyebrows," says leading Toronto-based dermatologist Dr. Vince Bertucci. "Aging is inevitable, but we don't want to look tired, disinterested, angry or sad when we're not feeling that way."
What's more, recent research out of South America supports the notion that our faces may be sending out the wrong messages, and claims this is a result of particular facial lines and wrinkles.iii
Breaking Down the Frown Lines
According to recent research published by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery by dermatologist Ada R. Trindade Almeida, the glabellar region - the area between your eyebrows - is the first place to be noticed in the facial expression. Its contraction (better known as furrowing of the brows) is associated with negative emotions, such as impatience, anger, and tiredness, which the individual often expresses in an unwanted manner.iv
'Wisdom's Five Facial Foes'
Dr. Ameida's research highlights five different facial patterns that are associated with negative facial expressions. Based on the research, one could suggest these symbols represent 'Wisdom's Five Facial Foes' - the top foes that are to blame for sending out inadvertent messages:
|U||The Unwanted: "U" pattern - when at rest the lines between the eyebrows form an arch in the shape of a "U"|
|V||The Villain: "V" pattern - when at rest the lines between the eyebrows are more horizontal or straight forming a wide "V" shape|
|→←||The Opposer: "Converging arrows" - when at rest the lines between the eyebrows point into each other horizontally like converging arrows|
|Ω||The Greek Opponent: "Omega" - when at rest the lines between the eyebrows look like the Greek letter omega|
|Ʊ||The Overturned: "Inverted Omega" - when at rest the lines between the eyebrows barely join resembling an inverted omega|
The "U" pattern was observed in the research to be the most frequently seen in women and the third most common pattern in men. The "V" pattern was the most frequently seen in men and the second most common pattern in women. The "Inverted Omega" was the least common pattern in both women and men.v
Lost in [Facial] Translation
Facial expressions are among the most universal forms of body language and experts have studied them for centuries in attempt to decode hidden emotions. According to leading body language expert Bina Feldman, the looks on our faces speak more than words.
"Everyone knows that a smile can indicate approval or happiness, while a frown can signal disapproval, anger or unhappiness, but what happens when that frown is unintentional? In some cases, our facial expressions reveal our true feelings but sometimes they can totally miss the mark. While you may say that you are feeling fine, the involuntary look on your face may tell people otherwise."
According to the survey, Canadian women have been told they look tired (38 per cent), stressed (13 per cent) and sad (six per cent), often when they are not feeling that way at all.vi
Speaking a Whole New Language
Aging is inevitable, and unfortunately so are those unwanted lines and inadvertent facial expressions we may give off as a result. But Dr. Bertucci, Toronto-based dermatologist says women don't have to hide behind the lines.
"Women don't want to trade in their years of accumulated wisdom, but those lines and wrinkles that appear as we age can be bothersome. One of the things I suggest to my patients is injectable treatments, like botulinum toxins or facial fillers, like Juvéderm.They can be used to treat the look of creases and lines and soften expressions as one grows older to restore facial balance and harmony."
About the Survey
The survey was completed online from January 21st to January 30th, 2013 using Leger Marketing's online panel, LegerWeb, with a sample of 867 Canadian women between the ages of 30 and 60. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 3.3%, 19 times out of 20.
i The survey was completed online from January 21st to January 30th, 2013 using Leger Marketing's online panel, LegerWeb, with a sample of 867 Canadian women between the ages of 30 and 60. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 3.3%, 19 times out of 20.
ii Leger poll, page 29
iii Glabellar contraction patterns: a tool to optimize botulinum toxin treatment, ADA R. TRINDADE DE ALMEIDA, MD,* ELISA R. M. DA COSTA MARQUES, MD,* RAUL BANEGAS, MD,† AND BOGDANA V. KADUNC, MD, PHD, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22804914, 2012
vi Leger poll, page 30