Science

Everyone In The World Uses One Expression To Communicate "No"

You can learn a lot about the way a person feels just by looking at her face. Researchers have identified eight specific facial expressions that are consistent across cultures and languages around the world. The latest addition to this list came in 2016. We're talking about the "not face."

The "not face" is a combination of anger, disgust, and contempt, and is expressed when a person doesn't like something. "To our knowledge, this is the first evidence that the facial expressions we use to communicate negative moral judgment have been compounded into a unique, universal part of language," said Aleix Martinez, a cognitive scientist and professor at Ohio State University. The "not face" joins the list of the seven already-known universal facial expressions: disgust, anger, contempt, happiness, sadness, surprise, and fear.

The Secrets To Decoding Facial Expressions

Before the "not" face was deemed universal, these were the seven universal facial expressions.

Are Facial Expressions Learned Or Innate?

Research suggests that facial expressions are built into our genetic programming.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Emoticons play the role of facial expressions in emails so that recipients have a better understanding of the message's tone. 00:36

  2. Both blind athletes and sighted athletes display similar facial expressions when they win or lose a game. 01:42

  3. Research suggests that facial expressions are built into our genetic programming. 02:10

Where Do Our Facial Expressions Come From?

Some of them are universal, others are not.

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Written By Curiosity Staff August 12, 2016