Maybe it was a sweet-as-pie, pretty-please smile meant to talk a friend into sharing her dessert, or a serious stink eye intended to shake a moody kid out of his tantrum. Whatever the circumstance, we've all used our faces to get our way. Our facial expressions stem primarily from intentions -- not from feelings -- says Alan J. Fridlund, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences at UC Santa Barbara who conducts innovative research on the meaning of facial expressions. For example, the 'cry' face is usually considered an expression of sadness, but we use that face to solicit succor, whether that means reassurance, words of comfort or just a hug. Published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences , the new study supports and expands on Fridlund's previous work debunking the older, widely held assumption that facial expressions reveal people's emotions.
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How to Easily Read Faces and Facial Expressions (with Pictures)
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A wonderful result of improving communication and the ability to read facial expressions is that overall social skills improve as well. For the most part, the facial expressions of those sitting around the table were sympathetic, but Dulce looked as if she was ready to break into tears. People have tonalities that say " do n't bother me right now " and tonalities combined with facial expressions that indicate something is wrong. Direct light in a newborn's eyes will cause some priceless, but probably undesirable facial expressions.
Communication can be either verbal or nonverbal. Nonverbal communication is more immediate, but more ambiguous than verbal communication. Men and women differ significantly in their propensity to use nonverbal communication, their skill in interpreting it and their means of signaling their meaning. Accordingly, understanding gender differences in nonverbal communication is important when dealing with the opposite sex.