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A person’s ability to recognize emotional content on other people’s face is linked to blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure you can’t read faces. It’s a condition referred to as “emotional dampening” and is a characteristic of hypertension and risk for coronary disease, and emotion regulation such as bipolar disorders and depression.
According to a new study by Clemson University psychology professor James A. McCubbin and his colleagues, people with higher blood pressure have reduced ability to recognize angry, fearful, sad and happy faces and are also compromised when trying to interpret the emotion in text.
“It’s like living in a world of email without smiley faces,” McCubbin said. “We put smiley faces in emails to show when we are just kidding. Otherwise some people may misinterpret our humor and get angry. McCubbin terms the phenomenon as “emotional dampening” and the effect may cause people to react inappropriately to others because they are misinterpreting or not interpreting at all the signals on the face which imbue statements with meaning.
“For example, if your work supervisor is angry, you may mistakenly believe that he or she is just kidding,” McCubbin said. “This can lead to miscommunication, poor job performance and increased psychosocial distress.” Also early termination. Especially in complex social situations, like at the work place, people must be able to interpret faces and gestures in order to accomplish tasks and work in teams or departments.
“If you have emotional dampening, you may distrust others because you cannot read emotional meaning in their face or their verbal communications. You may even take more risks because you cannot fully appraise threats in the environment.” The condition can prevent people from developing close relationships, enjoying social situations and understanding human nuance.
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