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The Natural World

Facial expressions are an important part of our everyday language. We can use expressions to signal our mood or feelings without using words. A smile, a frown, a wrinkled nose, or a raised eyebrow can all be used to convey a message without speaking. They also form an important part of most conversations. We give out these signals continuously, and read them in the faces of other people, usually without any conscious thought.

All of these examples of ‘facial language’ are controlled by the muscles of the face. There are more than thirty facial muscles, most of them attached to both the skull and the skin.

Some have very specialised purposes. The muscles running from the side of the face to the corner of the mouth pulls up the corner of the mouth to make us smile.

Another muscle runs in a flat ring around the eye, allowing the eye to be screwed up or narrowed to protect it from bright light.

Across the forehead is a single sheet of muscle which wrinkles the forehead in a frown, and also helps to raise the eyebrows.

The lips are controlled by a group of muscles that produce the small and accurate movements necessary for speech. The lips are the most mobile part of the face, and can be moved in different ways.

From The Skeleton and Movement (The Human Body Series).

By Brian R. Ward and Franklin Watts


3.Read the text again and decide if these statements are true or false:

1) We convey messages through facial expressions all the time.

2) About 15 facial muscles are joined to the skull and the skin.

3) When we frown, we raise our eyebrows.

4) The lips move about more than other parts of the face.

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