Tuesday, August 21, 2007

You had me a "freshly severed heads"

I got a press release today from Smithsonian magazine. Certainly grabbed my attention. Here's the top:

"Understanding the smile is serious business. For example, did you know that the freshly severed heads of executed criminals and revolutionaries were the first specimens used to study the mechanistic nature of human facial expressions? Over 150 years later, scientists can confidently say that facial expressions are innate. Facial expressions, and especially the smile, constitute a system of unconscious communication that got built into our biology long before language itself.

The August issue of Smithsonian magazine explores how scientists are finding there is a lot more to one of the most complex human expressions than meets the eye."

I knew I should have renewed my subscription this year.


Christopher Short said...

"one of the most complex human expressions"? I thought it took more muscles to frown! That birthday card lied to me!

Jennifer Wilson said...

That is so cool. Then again, I once spent an entire lunch hour discussing how long the brain is aware of its surroundings after being chopped off by the guillotine.

And dude, did I ever LOVE Body Worlds.

Dena Rosenberry said...

The suspense is killing me.

How long IS the brain of aware of its surroundings after being choppeed off by guillotine?

Jennifer Wilson said...

Sadly, we never did figure that out. But we determined that death *isn't* instantaneous! Scary.