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On the Consequences of Living without Facial Expression Public Deposited

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  • Although the importance of the face in communication is well-known, there has been little discussion of the ramifications for those who lack facial expression: individuals with facial paralysis such as Bell’s palsy and Möbius syndrome, and facial movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease. By examining the challenges experienced by these individuals, this chapter not only highlights the importance of facial expression, but reveals the role of the rest of the body in emotional experience, communication, and interaction. First, the qualitative experiences and psychological adjustment of people with facial paralysis are examined; then applied and theoretical implications of facial paralysis to facial feedback theory, mimicry, and empathy are covered. Next, the tendency for people to form inaccurate impressions of the emotions and traits of people with facial paralysis are discussed. Some people with facial paralysis compensate for their lack of facial expression by increasing expressivity in their bodies and voices. These compensatory expressions may improve impressions of them. Importantly, potential risks of misdiagnosing people with facial paralysis and other facial movement disorders with psychological disorders such as autism, depression, or apathy are considered. This chapter concludes with ways to facilitate social interaction.
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  • Bogart, K. R., Briegel, W., & Cole, J. (2014). On the consequences of living without facial expression. In C. Muller, A. Cienki, E. Fricke, S. Ladewig, D. McNeil, S. Teßendorf (Eds.), Handbook of Body – Language – Communication: An International Handbook on Multimodality in Human Interaction (pp.1969-1982). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
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