Resting B Face Is An Actual Real Thing, According To Research

resting b face is a real thing according to research

Resting b**** face (RBF) is more than just a look on your face; it's a bunch of negative emotions that people read on your face. RBF happens when your face has equal parts disgust, boredom, snottiness, contempt and dislike written all over it.

There may be quite a few negative aspects to having an RBF: you can make a bad first impression, people assume you're in a rotten mood, and you have to put on a fake smile just so you won't scare little children. Worst of all, it's been shown to be an obstacle to women advancing in the workplace. You're just not considered a team player with a disagreeable look on your face.

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Research confirms RBF is real

Jason Rogers and Abbe Macbeth, both of the research firm Noldus Information Technology, decided to investigate why we see some faces as expressionless but others as extremely unlikable and off-putting. What exactly makes us see a seemingly neutral expression as an RBF? "We wanted this to be fun and kind of tongue-in-cheek, but also to have legitimate scientific data backing it up," Macbeth told The Washington Post.

For the study, Rogers and Macbeth used Noldus' FaceReader, a software that uses a directory of 10,000 human faces to identify facial expressions. The FaceReader scrutinizes a face, maps 500 points on it, analyzes it, and then assigns an expression based on eight human emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, disgust, contempt, ad neutral.

Out of the 10,000 faces, 97 percent registered neutrality. The remaining three percent included a touch of sadness and disgust, but nothing especially significant.

The researchers then put in the faces of notorious RBF celebrities such as Kanye West and Kristen Stewart, and the level of emotion doubled. The reasoning for this could be a slight movement of the lip or a squint in the eye. Macbeth said, "It's kind of a tightening around the eyes, and a little bit of raising of the corners of the lips — but not into a smile." Those with RBF simply don't look warm and inviting.

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The most important findings from the study were that FaceReader can sense something off-putting about some otherwise neutral faces, so our human tendency to classify someone with a slightly hostile and annoyed facial expression as having RBF isn't completely off. Also, RBF isn't a strictly female phenomenon, and classifying it as a female-dominant expression of bitchiness isn't right; it's probably a reflection of society's expectations of women.

"RBF isn't necessarily something that occurs more in women, but we're more attuned to notice it in women because women have more pressure on them to be happy and smiley and to get along with others," Macbeth concluded. You may unintentionally have an RBF, but that doesn't mean you have to smile if someone tells you to. You can look any way that you want to; it's your face and if people want to make assumptions about it, that's on them.

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Christine Schoenwald is a writer and performer. She's written articles in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Bustle, Medium, and Woman's Day.