Study: Rare Facial Paralysis Gives New Insights into Social Interaction
[Source: Medical News Today]
Möbius is an extremely rare congenital facial paralysis that is usually bilateral and complete. The paralysis leaves the face expressionless, which makes it difficult for persons with Möbius to express emotions or indicate that they understand a conversation partner’s information. This severely inhibits interaction and rapport – creating a challenge not only for the persons with Möbius but also for their conversation partners who become insecure and nervous.
An international group of researchers centered at Aarhus University’s Interacting Minds Centre has completed a study involving five Danish teenagers with Möbius Syndrome to see whether it is possible to teach persons who lack facial expressivity to use alternative communication strategies.
“Our research shows that the teenagers significantly improved rapport and interaction with their conversation partners without Möbius after just two days’ workshop in compensatory communication strategies. And interestingly, it was not only the teenagers with Möbius who changed their behaviour; the non-Möbius interlocutors became much more expressive with both gestures and voices,” says postdoc John Michael from University of Copenhagen’s Center for Subjectivity Research.
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