The Invisible Smile: Living without facial expression

Hardcover | November 30, 2008

byJonathan Cole, Henrietta Spalding

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We are defined by our faces. They give identity but, equally importantly, reveal our moods and emotions through facial expression. So what happens when the face cannot move?This book is about people who live with Mobius Syndrome, which has as its main feature an absence of movement of the muscles of facial expression from birth. People with Mobius cannot smile, frown, or look surprised or sad. Talking and eating are problematic, since their lips do not move. Evenlooking around is also difficult since the eyes cannot move either. The book is unique in giving those with Mobius a voice, allowing children and adults with the condition to explain what it is like. These fascinating biographies reveal much about the relations between face and facial expression, and emotional expression and emotional experience which we normallytake for granted. The narratives also show the creative ways in which those with Mobius construct their lives and how they come to terms with and express their identities with, and yet, beyond their faces. Some with Mobius have been thought to have learning difficulties and autism, since animpassive immobile face has been assumed to reflect inner cognitive problems. This book criticises such work and asks people to look not only at the face but beyond it to see the person. Throughout the book, several themes emerge, of which perhaps the most surprising is the reduced emotional experience those with Mobius can have as children and young adults and the journeys they go on as they realise this and then assimilate emotion from the outside in. The result of a 4 year collaboration between a clinician/neuroscientist and a teacher/lobbyist who lives with Mobius, 'The Invisible Smile' provides an authentic, personal, and moving account of this disorder.

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We are defined by our faces. They give identity but, equally importantly, reveal our moods and emotions through facial expression. So what happens when the face cannot move?This book is about people who live with Mobius Syndrome, which has as its main feature an absence of movement of the muscles of facial expression from birth. People...

Jonathan Cole (MA, MSc, DM, FRCP) was educated at Brasenose College, Oxford and The Middlesex Hospital and while there did his medical elective in New York with Oliver Sacks. He completed his training in London before returning to Oxford and then Southampton to do research. He now is a consultant in clinical neurophysiology and an aca...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:248 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.94 inPublished:November 30, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198566395

ISBN - 13:9780198566397

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Somebody home3. Balancing acts4. Cartesian children5. Part of me6. The spectator7. Elastic between us8. Hear my smile9. 'Doomed to express'10. Changing of the rules11. Every second of the day12. Not about anything13. Rusty old car14. The last why