Vision Improvement Noted in Facial Expressions


The face is the part of the body that is used in a large portion of communication. Depending on the expression on one’s face, the intent of a person is known. For example: squinting the eyes and furrowing the brow may be indicative of pain or frustration. Fear is characterized by eyes and mouths flung wide open and a smile contains many messages. However, until recently, few realized that these common facial expressions have much to do with the body doing what it can to improve vision based on the surrounding circumstances.

The eyes and the brain work simultaneously to process information that is being received into awareness. facial expressions help to improve the eyes’ ability to process any situation. Fear and terror cause an adrenal response in the parasympathetic nervous system which is the body’s “fight or flight” mechanism. When a person becomes frightened, the eyes expand to allow them to process a much larger field of vision than what is generally utilized under normal circumstances. Squinting is the body’s way to prevent an overstimulation, which can cause injury, such as staring directly into the sun.

The body’s automatic response during sensory overload is to squint. In fact, though sounds have little to do with the eyes, unpleasant sounds elicit the same squinting response. An example of this is a sort of squinting and wincing that is done when others hear the sound of nails scratching a chalk board. In efforts to minimize unwelcome sensory invasions, the body attempts to block them out by limiting the field of vision. Scientists believe that this mechanism is not a trait that humans were born with. It is believed to be developed over the course of life experiences that would shape in individual’s perception.

Anytime the eyes and the brain are called upon to process something, the eyes endeavor harder to assess the situation. Therefore, new experiences require further examination of the sensory organs as the brain works to organize them into the memory banks. Once an experience is learned, it is then processed into the long-term memory area of the brain. When the experience occurs again, the body no longer has to process it as a new learning experience. Often, depending on the circumstances, the body’s sensory organizers no longer feel the need to react because the body already familiarized itself. For this reason, when walking into dark room, it may be initially quite difficult to establish a field of vision. As a result, a person may find themselves opening their eyes as wide as possible. However, after a few moments, the eyes acclimate and relax.

Facial expressions help the body as it experiences the world around it. The characteristics of how people perceive a situation has much to do with their prior experience. However, there are some characteristics that remain the same in all parts of the learning process as an integral part of human survival. Injuries typically always induce the same type of response because of the body’s mechanism to understand and respond to pain in ways that will keep it alive. When the eyes behold a loved one or a thing of beauty, it does not stop the dopamine hormone response that help the body to recognize feelings of love and appreciation. The facial expressions that humans make help improve vision as well as the experience of the world.

By: J.A. Johnson


Latin Post

American Pyschological Association

Scientific American

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