22 July 2010

There are more benefits to Botox than just reducing the appearance of wrinkles, and new research suggests that the treatments can also encourage people to feel happier by stopping them frowning. According to the US Association for Psychological Science, by relaxing the muscles in the forehead that would usually cause people to frown when unhappy, the non surgical treatments serve to reduce the intensity of negative feelings. The Telegraph reports that researchers at the University of Wisconsin tested 40 volunteers with small doses of the wrinkle relaxing injections, and asked them to read out statements both before and after treatment that were designed to provoke an emotional response. The study found that people who had the treatment took longer to recognise the negative statements. "There is a long-standing idea in psychology called the facial feedback hypothesis," said researcher David Havas. "Essentially, it says, when you're smiling, the whole world smiles with you. It's an old song, but it's right. "Actually, this study suggests the opposite: When you're not frowning, the world seems less angry and less sad." Professor Arthur Glenberg, who led the study, explained: "Normally, the brain would be sending signals to the periphery to frown, and the extent of the frown would be sent back to the brain. "But here, that loop is disrupted, and the intensity of the emotion and of our ability to understand it when embodied in language is disrupted."