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Scientists: 'Resting Bitch Face' Is Real

| by Zara Zhi
A Woman With "Resting Bitch Face."A Woman With "Resting Bitch Face."

Those with “resting bitch face” can now scowl with satisfaction, because the phenomenon has been proven by science.

Scientists Abbe Macbeth and Jason Rogers from Noldus Information Technology -- an observational and behavioral research software company -- conducted a study in October 2015 using the company’s FaceReader software to analyze the faces of celebrities with RBF, including Anna Kendrick, Kanye West, Queen Elizabeth II and Kristin Stewart, reports CNN.

"We were looking to see if anything popped out," Macbeth says. "Our software is objective. It's not prone to human subjectivity like we are."

The researchers found that celebrities with bored or annoyed looks exhibited underlying levels of emotions that don’t appear on people without RBF, according to CNN.

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Rogers and Macbeth used FaceReader software that uses a directory of 10,000 human faces to detect facial expressions, reports New York magazine. The software scrutinizes a face and charts 500 points on it, then evaluates it.

The FaceReader allocates one of eight human emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, disgust, contempt and neutral. For average faces, the researchers concluded that on average faces, 97 percent showed neutrality, while the remaining 3 percent exhibited a hint of contempt, for example, or a drop of sadness.

"We see that people who have this RBF expression [have] double the amount of emotionality expressed," she says.

Those with RBF may exhibit trace emotions as high as 6 percent, with contempt being the main emotion, according to CNN.

Celebrities with neutral faces like Jennifer Aniston and Blake Lively will register as “happy” according to the software.

So what does this all mean? Scientists haven’t quite figured that out yet, but Macbeth thinks it might be cultural and gender related.

“Eastern European people are seen as very stoic and not showing a lot of emotion and ... a lot of the people touted as having RBF are women," she says.

Another finding by the report concludes that RBF isn’t just a female phenomenon -- men are just as susceptible to it as women, according to New York magazine.

“That [smiling] is something that’s expected from women far more than it’s expected from men, and there’s a lot of anecdotal articles and scientific literature on that. So 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,” says Macbeth.

Sources: CNN, New York Magazine / Photo credit: Broken People/YouTube

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