The book discusses the concept of facial expression as one of the components of nonverbal communication. People communicate more than they intend to, using their facial expressions. Facial expressions tend to be similar irrespective of geographical location. A person smiles when he/she is happy, and his/her expression changes when he/she is sad. Facial expressions are innate and babies do not have to be taught how to smile when they are happy. Their expressions change when they are sad or in pain. People do not have to see others smile to know how to do it. They do it automatically whenever they feel happy.
The chapter also communicates the relationship between happiness and success. People who tend to smile a lot tend to be more successful in life. It is relatively easy to gauge how a person will turn out in life by looking at their photographs. Those who are captured with big genuine smiles on their face tend to be happier and more content in life. In addition, they tend to live longer compared to others. Although facial expressions are relatively the same all over the world, some cultural differences do exist. People are more likely to identify facial expressions from others belonging to the same culture.
Many people understand the importance of facial expressions. Therefore, they will try to change them to suit their situation even though this may be contrary to what they feel genuinely. They do so by intensifying what they feel through exaggeration. They can also try to minimize their emotions so that they can communicate the message that they are less emotional. Some of them try to neutralize their expressions. They do this if they do not want others to know what they feel. Others opt to mask their emotions. They do this by replacing the emotions they feel with others.
The YouTube video I will submit shows the importance of facial expressions as well as a child’s ability to distinguish between different expressions. Babies that have not yet learnt how to speak and listen depend heavily on the emotions that they parents or caretakers display. In the clip at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apzXGEbZht0, the baby has a good time with the mother and he enjoys spending time with her. He expresses his emotions of happiness and joy through smiles and laughter. However, he becomes confused and sad when the mother fails to respond to him as he expects. He tries everything he can to make his mother show the same expressions she had when the two of them were playing. He begins crying when the mother fails to respond to him. He becomes stressed because of this and this is clear from his facial expressions.
The baby is still young and it is quite clear that he cannot learn much at his age. This shows that people’s facial expressions are innate. A person understands the expressions to display when he or she is still young. At a tender age, the baby has learnt that the mother should smile whenever she is happy. The mother’s still expression confuses the baby since he does not expect this. Babies do not know how to fake their emotions and their facial expressions are a clear indication of how they feel. As they mature, they become socialized by watching the adults close to them. People learn how to fake their emotions at an early age. In many cases, they do so as a way of not hurting others. In other cases, they portray different emotions as a way of protecting themselves. One only has to look at the facial expressions of models competing in beauty pageants to understand this.
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