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The Power of Facial Expression

>> Friday, March 2, 2007

Ever wondered how powerful your facial expression is?

The PerutBesi gang & friends were at the pasar malam in Gambang this evening. No doubt, we were there for the food, but we discovered something more interesting than food :P

The face is the "organ of emotion," and we constantly read facial expressions to understand what others are feeling. The face also contains other powerful clues. Our identity is captured in our features, and our eyes reveal important truths about us, even those we would prefer to conceal. Our face also plays a critical role in physical attractiveness.
- Taken from http://nonverbal.ucsc.edu/facerev.html

Expression implies a revelation about the characteristics of a person, a message about something internal to the expresser. In the context of the face and nonverbal communication, expression usually implies a change of a visual pattern over time, but as a static painting can express a mood or capture a sentiment, so too the face can express relatively static characteristics (sometimes called physiognomy). The concept of facial expression, thus, includes:

  1. a characteristic of a person that is represented, i.e., the signified;

  2. a visual configuration that represents this characteristic, i.e., the signifier;

  3. the physical basis of this appearance, or sign vehicle, e.g., the skin, muscle movements, fat, wrinkles, lines, blemishes, etc.; and

  4. typically, some person or other perceiver that perceives and interprets the signs.

Taken from http://face-and-emotion.com/dataface/expression/expression.jsp

What we found out was rather amazing, yet once again, depressing.

We saw a small boy sitting in the van with a sulky, sad face (as if he was scolded by his dad or mum). Four of us girls stared at him & one of us showed him a sad face in response, wondering why he was so sad. We were discussing about the matter, & looking at that kid every now & then when the kid burst out in tears!! "What did we do to make the kid cry?? We were just looking at him..."

So, yeah, there you are- the power of facial expression. With just a sad ;( , pouty look :( in response to another sad look, the kiddo ended up crying like mad til his dad had to attend to him *sigh*

- Ruth


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