Does Botox Affect Emotions?

Do people who undergo Botox treatments experience weaker emotions? A new study published in Emotion, a journal of the American Psychological Association, examined if Botox injections have an effect on emotional experience.

In order to test if feedback from facial expressions influence emotional experience, Barnard College Professors Joshua Davis and Ann Senghas, who led the research, compared the impact on self-reported emotional experience of those with Botox injections, which paralyze muscles of facial expression, and a control group with Restylane injections—a cosmetic filler that does not affect facial muscles.

According to the abstract, “When examined alone, Botox participants showed no pre- to post-treatment changes in emotional responses to our most positive and negative video clips.”

However, between-groups comparisons showed Botox participants exhibited an overall significant decrease in the strength of emotional experience.

“With the advent of Botox, it is now possible to work with people who have a temporary, reversible paralysis in muscles that are involved in facial expressions,” said Davis. “With Botox, a person can respond otherwise normally to an emotional event, e.g. a sad movie scene, but will have less movement in the facial muscles that have been injected, and therefore less feedback to the brain about such facial expressivity. It thus allows for a test of whether facial expressions and the sensory feedback from them to the brain can influence our emotions.”

The findings suggest to the researchers that feedback from facial expressions is not necessary for emotional experience, but may influence emotional experience in some circumstances.

Read the “The effects of BOTOX injections on emotional experience” abstract to learn more. Dr. Will offers both Botox and Restylane injections at his Ijamsville, Maryland office.

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Dr. Michael J. Will cosmetic surgeon Maryland received his bachelor’s degree from Washington and Jefferson College, his dental degree from Georgetown University and his medical degree from the University of Texas.

He completed his General Surgery and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery training at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Will also completed a General Cosmetic Surgery fellowship at the Cosmetic Surgery Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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