A recent study conducted in Trieste, Italy, has demonstrated a strong link between Botox facial treatments and the inability to perceive subtle changes in other people's facial expressions.
Researchers measured the accuracy and reaction time of people's judgments of others' facial expressions at two points: once immediately before they received Botox treatment and once two weeks after the treatment. A control group was measured once and then two weeks later, with no Botox treatment. Researchers found that there was no difference between those with and without Botox if the facial expressions they viewed were obvious, but that subtle changes in facial expression were much more difficult for Botox-treated patients to perceive.
As ScienceDaily reports, the findings relate to two concepts: one, that Botox may negatively affect the ability to read facial expressions, and two, that perceiving others' emotional expressions may depend on replicating them to a small extent in one's own body. This concept is known as embodiment. The current study supports the existence of embodiment because Botox achieves its aesthetic effects through mild facial paralysis, which now appears to coexist with a weakened ability to read facial expressions in others.