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发表于 2018-5-12 10:12:38 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
  Why do you look so angry? This article hasn’t even begun and already you
disapprove. Why can’t I ever win with you? I see it in your face.
          If this sounds unfamiliar, good for you. You don’t need this.
          For the rest of us, it may be helpful to know that some people seem to have
outsize difficulty with reading neutral faces as neutral, even if they are
exceptionally accurate at interpreting other facial expressions. Over the past
decade psychologists have been piecing together why this occurs.
          A study published in March in the Journal of Social and Personal
Relationships suggests that some people who grew up with parents who fought a
lot never learned to properly read those in-between faces, perhaps because they
spent so much time watching out for signs of conflict.
          今年3月发表在《社会与人际关系期刊》(Journal of Social and Personal
          “Angry interactions could be a cue for them to retreat to their room,” said
Alice Schermerhorn, a developmental psychologist at the University of Vermont
and the author of the study. “By comparison, neutral interactions might not
offer much information, so children may not value them and therefore may not
learn to recognize them.”
          “愤怒的互动可能意味着他们应该退回自己的房间,”佛蒙特大学(University of
          These findings build on previous research indicating that depression,
anxiety and irritability can affect how a person perceives other people’s faces.
It has also been shown that adults who were exposed to violence, neglect or
physical abuse in childhood are more likely to see hostility where there is
none. This can create a self-reinforcing cycle.
          “If you think they look angry then you may respond angrily,” said Abigail
Marsh, the director of the Laboratory on Social and Affective Neuroscience at
Georgetown University.
University)社会和情感神经科学实验室(Laboratory on Social and Affective
Neuroscience)的主任阿比盖尔·马什(Abigail Marsh)说。
          What interested Dr. Schermerhorn was whether an even more common issue —
conflict between parents — might also take a toll.
          She tested this by gathering 99 children, ages nine to 11, who lived in
households with their two married biological parents. After the children
completed a questionnaire with statements such as, “My parents get really mad
when they argue,” she tested their ability to gauge emotions in a series of
          Her original hypothesis was that children with higher interparental
conflict scores would be worse at reading happy, angry and neutral faces. What
she found instead was that children in high-conflict households fared just as
well as the other children in discerning happy and angry expressions.
          “They just couldn’t identify neutral accurately,” she said.
          The study has limitations: The children were reacting to posed photos of
the same youthful white actors. In real life, of course, faces are moving —
something that limits the applications of numerous studies in this area. The
children also misread neutral as happy about as often as they misread it as
angry, which is different from some other studies in this area. And it’s
possible that they will grow out of the tendency as they age, she
          Still, the findings support a point other researchers in this field
sometimes make: Those most in need of a benign interaction often have the
hardest time recognizing one.
          A parallel phenomenon has been shown to sabotage people suffering from
depression and anxiety.
          “People with anxiety disorders are likely to see fear when it’s absent,”
and to “misclassify neutral expressions as angry, fearful, or just generally
negative,” said Dr. Marsh, the Georgetown professor, who recently published a
book called “The Fear Factor: How One Emotion Connects Altruists, Psychopaths,
and Everyone In-Between.”
Fear Factor:
          Depression, similarly, has been found to function almost like distortion
goggles, filtering out signs of joy and happiness while magnifying signs of
sadness or anger.
          The good news is that there is some evidence that people can learn to see
ambiguity in a more positive light.
          Melissa Brotman, a clinical neuroscientist at the National Institute of
Mental Health who develops treatments to help chronically irritable children,
has found that they have a tendency to “perceive neutral or ambiguous faces as
more hostile and fear-producing than typically developing youth.” But after a
week of training with a computerized feedback tool in a small early pilot study,
not only did the children stop seeing so much hostility in ambiguous faces, but
parents and clinicians also noticed that their moods improved considerably.
          美国国家精神健康研究院(National Institute of Mental Health)临床神经科学家梅丽萨·布罗特曼(Melissa
          So what do you do if you’re an adult who often thinks friends and
colleagues are upset with you? Dr. Schermerhorn advised trying to remember that
just because a face is not brimming with positivity, it does not mean that it is
conveying something negative. Also remember that what you’re picking up on might
just be a person’s eyebrows. Low brows and brows that slope in like a V have a
tendency to telegraph anger, researchers have found, even when none is

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