Human grooming by Daniel Laberge
Human grooming homepage Daniel Laberge homepage

Facial expressions

Your face is supposed to freely
convey your emotions

Primal modes of communication

Humans have invented language, and they are very proud of it.
They talk so much that they have ended up abandoning more fundamental methods of communication such as; touching, gestures and facial expressions.
Grooming is linked to these in several manners.

Primates are facial expression champions

Primates have developed their facial muscles more than any other type of animal.
These muscles are controlled directly by the nervous system and express their emotions.
This is why facial expressions represent the most natural mode of communication. They also are cross-culturally understood.
Afterwards, the brain takes control, so we can talk about involuntary and voluntary expressions.
Primates have evolved away from scent signals towards visual ones, so they use their faces extensively to communicate.
Several species have hairless regions, eyebrows or colors to improve intelligibility.
Humans are apes, and are experts at making faces.

How many facial expressions are there?

There is an infinite number of facial expressions.
We sometimes see scientific studies saying that there are eight, eleven, fifteen, ...
No! You can't count them, nor can you count your feelings.
Do you have the same face every time you are happy?
No! You have as many happy faces as there are happy events.
Your reactions and emotions are different, so you express them differently.

Scientific research
going nowhere

There have been, in the last fifty years, several scientific researches on basic communication modes, such as gestures and facial expressions.
They are trying to sort out muscular reactions to events or visual stimulations in humans and apes.
In my opinion, the scientific method that they are utilizing for their tests is useless when dealing with such complex matter.
These researchers are only wasting their time and misleading us by trying to simplify life.

A window on your feelings

Facial expressions happen instantaneously.
In fact, they occur faster than your brain can react, and can express feelings you may later want to hide.
The person relating with you knows how you feel faster than any other means of communication.
Just one split second glance can give you a good idea of a person's emotional state.
Often, words wouldn't even do justice to the complexity and strength of the feelings you can express with your face.

Multiple expressions

Your emotions simmer down slowly inside of you.
Your facial expressions show this.
If you're mad, it may take hours before you calm down.
During this time, you will still express other feelings as you live them, but they will all be tainted by your being mad.
An observant human, mostly one who knows you, will read all these subtleties in your face.

Stuck with your past
on your face

All the facial expressions you make during your lifetime get etched into the skin of your face.
It all adds up, so the result is a mix of your most frequent attitudes.
Expressions held for long periods or with great intensity will be more engraved.
You can see this in a mirror.
Your skin is now folded in a manner to always display those emotions, even though you possibly aren't feeling them anymore.

Judging people by their looks

For me, facial expressions are more reliable and truthful than what a person says.
I can detect foul play or bad intentions by looking at a person's face.
When such evil traits become sculpted into someone's features, after being that way all their life, I think it's normal to beware.

Expressionless, aggressive
and smiling faces

You have a neutral, everyday face that you present when you go around doing your usual activities.
You may not think much about it but; everybody sees it, and it might be saying bad things about you.
Showing an empty, bare visage is like cutting yourself from society.
It shows a refusal to relate, that can be taken as indifference, fear, or worse, as an indication that nothing is happening inside your head.
It is disturbing to see actors, celebrities and now anybody resorting to cosmetic injections since the toxin paralyses their facial muscles, destroying their expressivity.
•Aggressive expressions may be appropriate, for a short time, after disturbing events but, if used frequently, they only expose a person's lack of confidence or violence.

The story of the smile

I smile most of the time.
Humans have invented smiling, since chimpanzees don't use this expression.
But then, chimpanzee mothers always carry and sleep with their baby.
Some people believe you can find the origins of the smile in a child's repressed cry, attempting with his face to stop his mother from leaving him.
Smiling has evolved, and now represents peace of mind and good spirits.
It shows your well-being and your social receptiveness.

Boomerang facial expressions

Whenever you put out a facial expression, it comes back to you.
The link between emotions and expressions is so strong it can function the other way around.
You can observe that simply putting an expression on your face will actually cause the associated emotion to appear inside of you.
This also works with others, and you'll find out that by showing a smiley face, you get lots of smiles in return.

How expressive should your face be?

It should be like a blank screen, not one with a faded image already on it.
All those folds on your face prevent you from expressing your feelings accurately and satisfyingly.
Your facial muscles are slowly reduced to immobility.
On a groomed face, emotions appear with more precision and subtleness, unhindered by any previous folding.
Your face becomes such a mirror of your thoughts that everyone knows how you feel.


Left arrow Previous   Next Right arrow