The ‘Not Face’ is a universal part of language, study suggests

Researchers at The Ohio State University have identified a single, universal facial expression that is interpreted across many cultures as the embodiment of negative emotion. The look proved identical for native speakers of English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and American Sign Language (ASL). It consists of a furrowed brow, pressed lips and raised chin, and because we make it when we convey negative sentiments, such as “I do not agree,” researchers are calling it the “not face.”

... our facial muscles contract to form the “not face” at the same frequency at which we speak or sign words in a sentence. That is, we all instinctively make the “not face” as if it were part of our spoken or signed language.

“To our knowledge, this is the first evidence that the facial expressions we use to communicate negative moral judgment have been compounded into a unique, universal part of language,”... [emphasis mine]

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Maybe that helps explain the popularity of Grumpy Cat's (accidental) expression!

(I read about how she -- real name Tardar Sauce -- is actually a very sweet and social kitty; she was purring in the newscaster's arms when her human was being interviewed.)




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