Scientific Looking, Looking At Science

Facial expressions

Society believes that you can tell what a person is thinking or feeling by the look on their face. The fascination of being able to pin point who someone is just by the look on their face has led people in the wrong direction for years. Facial expressions help people communicate in one of the most silent form of communication. They are used to express emotions of conflict along with a wide selection based on the current emotional status. These expressions change due to the change in societies cultures, expressing the difference in facial features allows us to look further into facial expressions. While some people hide their true feelings behind another facial expression the birth of new expressions arise. This is what helps others pin point out what some may call “the poker face”. The poker face is something many fall back on when faced with a hardship, such has hiding emotions of happiness, anger, or sadness. Emotions change not only the facial structure of a person’s face but the whole-body structure as well.
            Relatively the human subject, “communicates six basic internal emotional states (happy, surprised, fear, disgust, anger, and sad) using the same facial movements by virtue of their biological and evolutionary origins” (Jack 2012). In the facial expression figures 1 and 2 students were asked to take a normal photo, and after a couple of shots the students received a compliment and that expression was captured. The first student tried to keep his composure, while the other student could not help but to express her appreciation and gratitude. In figure 3 the student was asked to replicate the same experiment, but this time he received some shocking information that affected his facial expression. When faced with a problem that is out of their control the student is forced to unintentionally find an expression to fit the situation. The experiment closes out with facial expressions figure 4 the final subject who was taken through the same process but expressed emotions of sadness. The student had no choice but to focus on the negative news therefore, the unsettled facial expression is what made the difference. What some do not understand is that, “facial expressions have long been considered the universal language to signal internal emotional states” (Jack 2012).
            Duchenne Boulogne conducted a scientific study stating, “the appearance of smiling in unpleasant circumstances was often cited by cultural anthropologies as proof that facial expressions of emotion are not universal but specific to each culture” (Ekman 1990). In facial expressions figure 5 we look at the six universal emotions according to both Duchenne and another man by the name of Paul Ekman. This image points out specific features that appear when confronted with emotions of sadness, contempt, surprise, anger, disgust, and fear. The study broke down the smile as a meaningless expression due to his test subjects falling back on the expression in time of discomfort or uncertainty. Today the smile has been given a universal understanding of many different emotions. This goes to say that a smile can be understood to be in a positive and negative manner, and still float somewhere in the awkward middle. This reflects onto the poker face concept discussed previously, and the idea that some of these universal expressions carry on having multiple meanings.
             When a person is moved by something in relation to expressing one of the universal facial expression naturally the body will also react. Many experiments are done by closing in on the face instead of showing the body due to, “bodily gestures complementing the narrative conveyed by the facial expression” (Pichel 2016).  To distinguish the expressions on ones, face the knowledge of feature changes needed to be taken in account before the addition on body gestures. The human body is naturally going to react out of awareness that something is directed to change the nature of its normality. For Duchenne to keep his experiment on track he was to understand that, “photography will become an essential tool in the definition of facial expression” (Pichel 2016). To keep record of all his test subjects, which allowed him to make certain connections between expression for recording the use of photographs were crucial to his results.
            With the addition of photography to the experiment it allowed for the truth to be captured in a still frame. The reality of photos is that they have the power to tell the whole story of a specific setting. For photography is something that cannot be changed or altered, so it involvement strength the case of determining facial expression. Though every face we encounter is not the same, we all tend to have something that relates with everyone else in the expressions we make. Figuring out which expression one chooses to hide behind is a mystery, but we all soon start to recognize when a poker face is being delivered to us if we pay close attention.   

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