Botox Numbs Emotional Response
If you can't frown, brain finds it harder to be sad, study surmises
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2010 10:45 AM CST
An injection in progress.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – If you turn your frown upside down with Botox, your brain gets the message and makes you less receptive to negative emotional stimuli. That’s the conclusion of a new study of people who had their frown muscles paralyzed with the cosmetic toxin. Researchers tested subjects on the speed of their response to emotionally charged statements before and after the procedure.

The “happy” response was the same, but the subjects’ responses to sad or annoying statements were slower after they had been injected. “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,” a researcher tells Newsweek. “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." Sure, the lag was small—less than a second—but “in conversation, people respond to fast, subtle cues.”