Tuesday, September 2013

By: Nadine Zein

Facial expressions have always been an interest to me. A personal experience that drew me to facial expressions was an encounter I had with my five-year-old cousin. She entered my room while I was putting on my makeup. She stood beside me and watched me for a while then looked in the mirror and began to do faces at herself. She continued this humorous act for several minutes; she seemed to be trying on as many faces as she could. This fuelled my fascination for facial expressions, to see a five-year-old girl so absorbed in her own features. Has she already noticed the significance of facial expressions in communication?

Historically, nonverbal expressions originated from our ancient ancestors. Before verbal language came into play, our ancestors used nonverbal signals to communicate with each other. This is constant nowadays, where people still use nonverbal signals intentionally and unintentionally. Once people engage in conversation, they are consistently using facial expressions, eye contact, body movement, posture, touch and appearance to convey their messages or points of views.

A person might question the importance of facial expressions as opposed to other gestures. When a person studies face and body languages, they find that both are intertwined, for example anger with a leaping forward of the body, sorrow with slouching, horror with an instinctive raising of hands to the face. Although both are crucial in conversation, the face is the first point of contact when people engage in a conversation and can be communicated alone which may be reinforced by the action of the body.