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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Reading Emotions

WASHINGTON -- When people study another person's face, they often look in the wrong places to read their emotions, according to new research.

Calin Prodan, of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, and colleagues briefly showed 20 subjects' line drawings of a human face displaying different emotions on the upper versus the lower part.

Most people focused on the lower part of the face - the nose, lips and cheeks - even though true feelings are expressed primarily in the upper face, through the eyes, brows and forehead, the researchers found.

"This phenomenon may be explained by the fact that during conversation, especially in noisy environments, people naturally pay attention to the lower face in order to aid verbal comprehension," the researchers wrote in a presentation to the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in San Diego last week.