If you thought Botox was the way ahead for retaining the youthful look, think again for recent research has found that people who underwent such treatments not only changed their appearance but also caused a weakening of the mental faculty that experiences emotions.

The research, carried out by scientists from the Barnard College at Columbia University, New York, is based on facial feedback hypothesis (FFH), a theory that dates back to American psychologist William James who suggested a century ago that unless emotion is expressed physically in the body, it does not actually exist.

Psychology scientists Joshua Davis and Ann Senghas who conducted the research and published their findings online in the journal Emotions believe that Botox came along and paralyzed the face muscles that are used to express emotion, thus reducing wrinkles.

Research shows that a person who has undergone Botox treatment responds to an emotional event but with less active facial muscles. So, if you are watching a game on television, the excitement is not necessarily visible on the face, as a result of which the brain gets less feedback about the expressions.

Joshua Davis, who led the research team, believes that the advent of Botox has made it possible to work with people who have a temporary paralysis of the facial muscles and allows the team to test their facial muscles and sensory feedback to the brain.

In fact, Davis says that Botox actually helped the research team design a study that could isolate the effects of facial expression and the sensory feedback to the brain from other factors like intentions relating to a person's expression and its motor commands.

Researchers examined two groups of participants including one set of people who had received Botox treatment. The other group was given cosmetic filler called Restylane which ensures that the facial muscles do not get paralyzed.

Thereafter, the participants filled in detailed questionnaires about emotional experience while watching positive and negative video clips. Detailed analyses of this feedback indicated that while there was no change in the emotional responses before and after the treatment, those who had undergone Botox showed an overall decrease in the strength of emotional experience.  

The participants filled in questionnaires about their emotional experiences to watching positive and negative video clips before and after treatment.

The data suggests that feedback from facial expressions is not necessary for emotional experience, but may influence emotional experience in some circumstances, the research findings said while recommending further studies to clarify the relationship between expression and experience.