Published December 1, 2012 by Yassmin Elnazer

Health & Family

We like to think we can read people like a book, relying mostly on tell-tale facial expressions that give away the emotions inside: the way the brows lift slightly with alarm, or the crow’s feet that crinkle with a wide smile. But when it comes to the strongest emotions, we read much less from facial expressions than we think we do. In fact, even though we believe it’s the face that tells the story, we’re typically reading something very different: body language and social cues.

That’s the new, counterintuitive finding from a study published this week in the journal Science. Researchers from Princeton, New York University, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem presented volunteer study participants with a series of pictures showing people experiencing extreme emotion, either positive or negative. The images included professional tennis players who had just won or lost a point in a major match, as…

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