Facial Expressions May Reveal Health Status

Facial Expressions May Reveal Health Status

Facial Expressions May Reveal Health Status

Over the years, the bulk of scientific research into facial expressions has centered around six primary emotions: sadness, fear, disgust, anger, surprise, and happiness. As time has progressed, however, people have realized that facial expressions can signify much more.

Facial Expressions May Reveal Health Status

As recently as July of 2014, researchers at Carolinas Medical Center have conducted tests centered on facial expressions in patients with heart or lung problems. Their hypothesis was simple – facial cues could be preliminary indicators that a more significant problem may exist than first diagnosed. Their results were interesting, to say the least. An assessment of 50 adults with symptoms of chest pain and shortness of breath revealed less than normal ranges of facial expression. These results were verified using a program designed to monitor facial muscle activity called the Facial Action Coding System.

The importance of this research has broad implications across the medical field. Often time, especially in emergency room settings, doctors must make quick decisions based on patient interaction. They don’t have time to perform extensive scans or tests so communication and visual monitoring of the patients are a must. If, in fact facial expressions do reveal health status and those indicators could be categorized, that would be an extraordinarily impactful advantage to emergency room doctors making initial assessments.

The three most important emotional responses that were stimulated were as follows:

• Happiness – Exhibited by raised lip corners and crinkled eyelids.
• Sadness – Exhibited by down-turned mouths, creased forehead, and wavering chin.
• Surprise – Exhibited by wide open mouths and eyes with raised eyebrows.

The important thing to note, when tested against the above emotional responses, is that people with significant health problems tended to stay expression neutral regardless of the stimulus. This was especially true when dealing with the emotion of surprise.

Our facial expressions are windows into our hearts and minds. They let the outside world know how we are feeling, emotionally. The important thing to remember is that facial expressions can let others know how we are feeling physically as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *