Graduate student David Havas of the University of Wisconsin-Madison decided to study people who had received Botox treatments that paralyzed one pair of their corrugator muscles, which cause the forehead to constrict into a frown. The idea was to see whether the treatment affected their ability to feel certain emotions.What Havas found is that after Botox treatments, it took the subjects longer to respond to negative emotions (only a second, but since humans respond to facial expression in fractions of a second, this may be significant).
This is the first study suggesting that Botox affects the ability to understand the emotional content of language. "Normally, the brain would be sending signals to the periphery to frown, and the extent of the frown would be sent back to the brain," UW-Madison professor emeritus of psychology Arthur Glenberg(and Havas's adviser) said in a statement. "But here, that loop is disrupted, and the intensity of the emotion and of our ability to understand it when embodied in language is disrupted."I think we can all see the possible uses of Botox. Got a cranky spouse? Honey, you should consider some Botox. Cranky teenager? You can never start too young, according to some cosmetic surgeons and women's beauty magazines, eliminating facial expressions and thereby stopping any lines from ever forming. But why limit this to the level of personal relations. Why not have the government or at least Wall Street finance Botox for the masses? Feeling pissed about half of all your tax dollars going to these senseless wars and the rest going to bailout bankers? Be a good citizen and go get your free Botox. You'll look better and feel better too. We could all be happy. And wrinkle-free. And no matter how often or how hard we got punched, literally or metaphorically, we could smile. Well, actually we couldn't smile. But we would at least be unable to frown or scowl. And wouldn't the world be a beautiful, Botoxed place then?