This Is the One Facial Expression Recognized Around the World

Sophie Miura

Have you ever been able to tell a friend how you feel with a simple look? Whether it be a flat stare or subtle scowl, it turns out that a loaded glance could be an evolutionary trait. According to Bustle, a new study suggests people who speak volumes with a simple look are actually using an international nonverbal language developed over thousands of years by our ancestors. 

Researchers at Ohio State University explored the meaning of various facial expressions across different cultures. Interestingly, they discovered that participants who spoke English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and American Sign Language were all able to understand one thing: a scowl. 

Yes, the simple expression—furrowed brow, pursed lips, and raised chin—is used and understood universally. Researchers found that people who use so-called "not face" are able to communicate their anger or distaste just as fast as speaking.

"To our knowledge, this is the first evidence that the facial expressions we use to communicate negative moral judgment have been compounded into a unique, universal part of language," says researcher Aleix Martinez. So next time you give your friend or colleague a knowing loaded glance, it turns out you're using one of the only universally understood signals.

Keen to find out more? Head over to Bustle to read the full story, then shop 15 gifts your best friend will adore

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