Scientists Discover Facial Expression That's the Same in Every Culture

March 29th 2016

Danielle DeCourcey

It is sometimes known as the "Bitch Please" or "Girl, Bye" face. However, researchers at Ohio State University have identified a universal expression for negative emotion, and they deemed it the "Not Face."

This face is identical in several groups of language speakers, including English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and American Sign Language, according to the university. You can see the subjects' expressions below from Ohio State University's website.

The Ohio State University's "Not Face"

To figure this out, they sat more than 150 college students in front of a camera, in order to look for facial "grammatical markers" for the word "not." A grammatical marker is something that corresponds with a sentiment in a sentence. It’s the difference between saying “I will NOT pay my student loans” and “I will pay my student loans.” The meanings of the two sentences differ greatly when "not" is present and when it, well, is not. Your face corresponds with those differences.

Everyone in the study made similar expressions when speaking, and signers made the "Not Face" when signing the word “not," or they just made the face instead of signing.

Basically, this means that throwing shade is a universal language even when no words are spoken.

Aleix Martinez, a cognitive scientist and professor at the university, said in a press release that this facial discovery is new and exciting.

“To our knowledge, this is the first evidence that the facial expressions we use to communicate negative moral judgment have been compounded into a unique, universal part of language,” Martinez explained in the statement.

The famous scientist who came up with the theory of evolution, Charles Darwin, believed that negative facial expressions had an important evolutionary purpose to warn others of danger, according to Martinez.

The “Not Face” is a combination of anger, disgust, and contempt all rolled into one negative “Bye Felicia.”

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