Botox Can Make It Harder to Empathize

Without the ability to mimic expressions, it's difficult to perceive emotions
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2011 7:19 AM CDT
Botox Can Make It Harder to Empathize
Lyn Talent receives a free Botox injection during an event called the 'The Botox Bailout' June 5, 2009 in Arlington, Virginia.   (Getty Images)

Research has already shown that Botox can have an effect on your own emotions, but a new study shows it may also affect how you perceive the emotions of others, USA Today reports. Part of the way we read emotions involves mimicking the facial expressions of others, the lead researcher says, so "if muscular signals from the face to the brain are dampened, you're less able to read emotions" and thus might suffer from a reduced ability to empathize.

In the experiment, subjects were shown pictures of faces and asked to identify the emotional expressions they saw. Some subjects had Botox, which paralyzes facial muscles, or Restylane, which doesn’t. Others were given a gel that, opposite to Botox, actually amplifies muscular signals. "When the facial muscles are dampened, you get worse in emotion perception, and when the facial muscles are amplified, you get better at emotion perception," the lead researcher says. For more on how Botox can impact your emotions, see here, here, and here. (More Botox stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.