Good Looks: Beware your resting face!

“Attractive people are often perceived as more intelligent, but we wanted to investigate how individuals can change their perceived intelligence, regardless of their attractiveness. The solution seems to lie in subtle differences in a resting facial expression that are related to sleep – namely eyelid droopiness and subtle frowning.” *

Eyelid droopiness and subtle frowning. Ewww… My kids call it BRF for Bitchy Resting Face. That’s what we get when we don’t get sleep, and study here below shows how these effects of tiredness can impact our lives. That is, the unrested resting faces with the droopy lids and frowns were judged less intelligent than the rested faces of these same people. Good to know for job interviews, performance evaluations, meetings, and parties where you may want to attract new love into your life. Especially if you are tired, beware of your resting face and perk it up a bit if you can.

A lot of people go to great lengths to perk up their faces. This year’s cosmetic industry revenue is estimated at $62.46 billion dollars to get rid of that droopy looking face. The so called ‘attractiveness halo’ sets more attractive people up to be thought more competent, intelligent, and successful than the less attractive among us. And simply because they are thought more competent and intelligent, often enough they actually are more successful. Little wonder, then, that so many people go to so much pain and expense to fix their faces.

But it doesn’t always work. Attractiveness is not just about the muscle and skin tone on our faces. How people feel around us, via the warmth and positivity we convey, has bearing on the qualities other people attribute to us as well. One woman I know** had an idea that plastic surgery, to fix the turned down jowls she thought made her look angry all the time, would significantly improve both her work and love lives. She went ahead with the plan, and not much changed, because she was in fact at least annoyed with pretty much everyone and everything much of the time. These things can show on our resting faces, tired or not.

We know that sleeping well is a good thing all around and, as the study shows, can actually prevent the misrepresentation of the intelligent, competent people we are. Sometimes, though, there is the what’s causing sleeplessness that can show on our faces and that needs our attention too. Notice your resting face, and be mindful of what it says about you – most importantly, to yourself. If you notice any BRF, you may ask yourself if there is something going on with you that you need to tend to for yourself. Or you may want to practicing noticing and then just changing your resting expression to something more pleasant for the whole world to see, and see how that goes for them and for you. As always, Practice, practice, practice…and see what happens.

To work on this or something else, would love to hear from you. Write or call:

Email:  Madelaine Weiss

Phone:  202.617.0821

*Sean N. Talamas et al. Eyelid-Openness and Mouth Curvature Influence Perceived Intelligence Beyond Attractiveness, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General (2016). DOI: 10.1037/xge0000152

**Examples and illustrations are fictional composites inspired by but not depicting nor referring to any actual specific person in my practice or life experience.

Copyright © 2017. Madelaine Claire Weiss. All rights reserved.



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