A new study has found that facial muscle movement is associated with emotional facial twitches, and that people with facial muscles that show emotion also show facial muscle activity.
The study, led by Dr Andrew Sneddon, of the University of Adelaide, analysed facial muscle movements recorded in more than 1,200 adults and found that there were more facial muscle activations in people with stronger facial muscles.
“We found that people who were also shown strong facial muscles were more likely to show facial twitching,” Dr Snedden said.
“This could mean that stronger facial muscle activation could potentially affect the way people perceive facial movements and therefore their facial muscles can change in response to the facial movement.”
The researchers were able to identify which facial muscle muscles were associated with strong facial movements.
“It’s possible that there are specific facial muscles involved in facial muscle activities that are associated only with strong emotion,” Dr Daniela Nadeau-Muller, a researcher at the University’s School of Psychology, said.
The team also looked at facial muscle strength in women who were photographed as they performed a simple task with their facial muscle and found facial muscle muscle activation was associated with stronger emotions.
“If we are able to better understand the relationship between facial muscle development and emotion, we could also develop targeted treatments that target specific facial muscle types to reduce facial muscle pain,” Dr Nadeaus said.
Dr Sneddeons team is currently exploring whether there are other neural systems that are involved in emotion, such as in the face, where facial muscle tone could be linked to emotion.
Dr Nadea-Moller said it was possible facial muscle growth could lead to the development of new facial muscles, and suggested it could be beneficial to have stronger facial bones in people.
“I think it’s important to think about the role of facial muscles in the facial experience,” she said.