Neal and his research team compared the effects of Botox and Restylane on the one hand, with a gel that amplifies facial signals on the other. The key finding, according to Neal: “When the facial muscles are dampened, you get worse in emotion perception, and when when facial muscles are amplified, you get better at emotion perception.”

Neal’s research seem to mesh with an study conducted last year by Barnard College professors Joshua Davis and Ann Senghas. As Davis put it: “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 about such facial expressivity… It this allows for a test of whether facial expressions and the sensory feedback from them to the brain can influence our emotions.”