Emotional Cues and Facial Paralysis
April 6, 2010 10:06 AM Subscribe
"She needed company, sympathy — someone, anyone, to see and feel her loss — and searched the face of her assigned social worker in vain." Kathleen Bogart
is a graduate student in psychology at Tufts University.
She previously worked as social worker. She also suffers from a paralysis known as Moebius Syndrome
, a neurological disorder present from birth that causes the paralysis of the facial muscles. Ms. Bogart, and others with Moebius Syndrome, are physically unable to make facial expressions. Her research focuses on the abilities of those with Moebius and similar syndromes or paralyses to recognize facial expressions.
Prior to Ms. Bogart's research, psychologists thought that facial mimicry, or emotional contagion
, was necessary in learning how to recognize facial expressions and for learning social interaction. Ms. Bogart's study has found this theory to be false, bringing out the question for future research as succinctly put by "The New York Times" article, how does
the brain interpret others’ expressions so quickly and accurately?