The Face of Emotion: How Botox Affects Our Mood and Relationships

Eric Finzi, Author
Eric Finzi. Palgrave Macmillan, $27 (240p) ISBN 978-0-230-34185-2
Reviewed on: 12/10/2012
Release date: 01/29/2013
Paperback - 227 pages - 978-1-137-27913-2
Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-137-33339-1
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Forget the eyes being the window to the soul—focus on the eyebrows. Beltway dermatologist Finzi argues that your face doesn’t just reflect the mood you’re in, it plays an integral role in generating feelings and moods. His trials of the 140-year-old “facial feedback hypothesis” discovered that the powerful botulinum toxin—used commercially as Botox to erase laugh lines, crows’ feet, and other facial signs of aging—appears to change the mood of depressed patients by preventing sad or angry looks. Finzi provides a fascinating and entertaining survey of how our faces contribute to our emotions, noting that as early as the 19th century, Charles Darwin found that smiles and frowns are much more than fleeting reflections of inner happiness or turmoil. Recounting both the art and history of depression—and a heartfelt narrative of his own mother’s battle—Finzi makes an important call for more research on the facial feedback theory to help unravel exactly what happens to the brain of depressed patients who feel better after treatment with Botox. Until then, the rest of us—whether we opt for a face-freeze or not—might do just as well to put on a happy face. Agent: Kathleen Anderson, Anderson Literary Management. (Jan.)
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