Alert
Close

Help hungry seniors. Deliver help and hope before Thanksgiving. Donate

HIGHLIGHTS

Open

AARP VETERAN MEMBERSHIP

Military and Veterans Discount

CONTESTS AND SWEEPS

AARP REALPAD

Introducing RealPad by AARP

AUTO BUYING PROGRAM

AARP Auto Buying Program

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP BOOKS

Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

Botox May Deaden Perception, Study Says

Botox may smooth your wrinkles, but it can dull your ability to understand the emotions of others, a new study suggests.

Botox, used in cosmetic and medical procedures for 20 years, paralyzes muscles, hindering certain facial movements, such as frowns, that over time can cause wrinkles.

Therein lies the problem, says David Neal, a psychology professor at the University of Southern California, lead author of the research, published today in the journal Social Psychology and PersonalityScience.

"People who use Botox are less able to read others' emotions," says Neal, who worked with a researcher at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

People read emotions partly by mimicking facial expressions, Neal says, so "if muscular signals from the face to the brain are dampened, you're less able to read emotions."

Researchers conducted two experiments, one of 31 women, comparing Botox with Restylane, a dermal filler, and the other of 56 women and 39 men, using a gel that amplifies muscular signals. Participants in both experiments viewed computer images of faces and identified the emotions they saw.

"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," Neal says.

A similar study published last year in the journal Emotion said Botox injections may decrease a person's ability to feel emotions. That study, conducted at Columbia University, compared Botox and Restylane in 68 people. Its lead author, psychologist Joshua Davis, hasn't seen the new study but says the finding "would suggest that facial expression is an integral component of what we consider our emotional experience. Certainly the concept is one that fits with the research we did."

Dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi of Washington says she's treated at least 10 patients a day with Botox for a decade and has never heard a complaint related to emotions.

"It's important that facial expression is there," she says. "People care about what they look like, but they do not want to look overly done or overly plasticized."

Neal says users should "consider whether these procedures are having any indirect costs — reducing their ability to empathize and understand people's emotions."

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Medical
Resources

Symptom Checker

Enter your medical symptoms to find out possible causes and treatments. Read

Health Encyclopedia

Find the information you need about health conditions, symptoms and medical procedures. Read

Health Screenings and Vaccines

What screenings and shots do you need? Read

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Membership Discount Benefit Pet Plan Dog

Members save 10% or more on Petplan pet insurance premiums.

Senior couple working on laptop. Medicare open enrollment. (David Jakle/Corbis)

Medicare Open Enrollment Period Ends Dec. 7 ─ AARP® Medicare Plans from UnitedHealthcare.

Grandson (8-9) whispering to grandfather, close-up

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points