As you suspected. Emotions are not only reflected in people's faces. Surely you saw a kitten or a puppy before this seemed to express something with the characteristics. Now, what is confirmed, say researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology. They are the first to describe emotional facial expressions for mice. Expressions change when you try something sweet or sour, or when you become anxious. Yes, mice have facial expressions that express emotions.
This enables a new way to measure the emotions of the mice. The news was published in Science. Neurobiologists can examine the basic mechanisms of how emotions are generated and processed in the brain.
Pleasure, disgust, fear. The facial expressions that reflect these emotions are the same for all people. If we dislike something, our eyes narrow. And our nose and upper lip folds are asymmetrically distorted. Even newborns react with different facial expressions. We believe that we recognize the feelings in the facial expressions of our pets. In contrast, the faces of other animals seem to be expressionless. It's not like this. This is now shown by Max Planck scientists.
The researchers were able to reliably link five emotional states to the facial expressions of the mice. The pleasure, the disgust, the nausea, the pain and the fear. They were clearly distinguishable for computer algorithms. You could even measure the relative strength of these emotions.
Respond to stimuli
"The mice licked a sugar solution. When they were thirsty, they had a much happier facial expression than saturated mice," says Nadine Gogolla, who led the study. Meanwhile, the mice that tested a slightly salty solution showed a "satisfied" expression. And with a very salty face it resulted in a "disgusted" face. The researchers concluded that facial expressions actually reflect the inner and individual character of an emotion.
Emotions are not simply a reaction to an external stimulus. They are created by mechanisms in the brain. The researchers examined how neuronal activity affects facial expressions in different brain regions. Neurobiologists have been able to evoke various emotional facial expressions. They did this by light-activating certain areas of the brain that are known to play a role in processing.
These results suggest the existence of "emotional neurons". Each reflects a specific feeling, at least in the island bark. "By recording facial expressions, we can now examine the basic neuronal mechanisms behind emotions in the mouse animal model," explains Gogolla. “This is an important prerequisite for examining emotions. Also possible processing disorders, such as anxiety or depression disorders ».
And if you have one at home, take care. Mice have emotional facial expressions and you should just look good.