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为什么别人看起来总是在对你生气?

更新时间:2018-4-27 21:09:46 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Why It Seems Like Everyone Is Always Angry With You
为什么别人看起来总是在对你生气?

Why do you look so angry? This article hasn’t even begun and already you disapprove. Why can’t I ever win with you? I see it in your face.

你为什么看起来这么生气?你还没开始看这篇文章,就已经不赞同它了。为什么我不能赢得你的赞同呢?我从你的脸上猜出来了。

If this sounds unfamiliar, good for you. You don’t need this.

如果你不经常听到这些话,那很好。你不需要这些话。

For the rest of us, it may be helpful to know that some people seem to have outsize difficulty with reading neutral faces as neutral, even if they are exceptionally accurate at interpreting other facial expressions. Over the past decade psychologists have been piecing together why this occurs.

对于我们其余这些人来说,知道有些人很难识别没有情绪的面部表情,这一点或许有所帮助,尽管他们可以准确解读其他面部表情。在过去十年里,心理学家们一直在研究为什么会出现这种情况。

A study published in March in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships suggests that some people who grew up with parents who fought a lot never learned to properly read those in-between faces, perhaps because they spent so much time watching out for signs of conflict.

今年3月发表在《社会与人际关系期刊》(Journal of Social and Personal Relationships)上的一项研究表明,有些成长过程中父母经常争吵的人从未学会正确解读那些没有情绪的表情,可能是因为他们花了太多时间观察冲突的迹象。

“Angry interactions could be a cue for them to retreat to their room,” said Alice Schermerhorn, a developmental psychologist at the University of Vermont and the author of the study. “By comparison, neutral interactions might not offer much information, so children may not value them and therefore may not learn to recognize them.”

“愤怒的互动可能意味着他们应该退回自己的房间,”佛蒙特大学(University of Vermont)的发展心理学家、该研究的作者埃莉丝·舍默霍恩(Alice Schermerhorn)说。“相比之下,中性的互动可能不会提供很多信息,所以,孩子们可能不重视它,因此也没学会识别它。”

These findings build on previous research indicating that depression, anxiety and irritability can affect how a person perceives other people’s faces. It has also been shown that adults who were exposed to violence, neglect or physical abuse in childhood are more likely to see hostility where there is none. This can create a self-reinforcing cycle.

这些发现是以之前的研究为基础的,那些研究表明,抑郁、焦虑和易怒可能会影响一个人对他人表情的解读。研究还表明,童年时遭受过暴力、忽视或身体虐待的成年人更容易发现一些并不存在的敌意。这可能会形成一个自我强化的循环。

“If you think they look angry then you may respond angrily,” said Abigail Marsh, the director of the Laboratory on Social and Affective Neuroscience at Georgetown University.

“如果你认为别人看起来很愤怒,那么你就可能做出愤怒的回应,”乔治敦大学(Georgetown University)社会和情感神经科学实验室(Laboratory on Social and Affective Neuroscience)的主任阿比盖尔·马什(Abigail Marsh)说。

What interested Dr. Schermerhorn was whether an even more common issue — conflict between parents — might also take a toll.

舍默霍恩博士感兴趣的是,父母间的冲突这个更常见的问题是否也会造成负面影响。

She tested this by gathering 99 children, ages nine to 11, who lived in households with their two married biological parents. After the children completed a questionnaire with statements such as, “My parents get really mad when they argue,” she tested their ability to gauge emotions in a series of photos:

她对99个9岁至11岁的孩子进行了测试。这些孩子都是同已经结婚的亲生父母住在一起。孩子们先完成一份问卷,上面的陈述包括:“我的父母争论时非常生气”。然后她测试了他们判断一系列人像照片上的情绪的能力。

Her original hypothesis was that children with higher interparental conflict scores would be worse at reading happy, angry and neutral faces. What she found instead was that children in high-conflict households fared just as well as the other children in discerning happy and angry expressions.

她最初的假设是,父母冲突更严重的孩子更不善于解读高兴、愤怒和中性的表情。可结果她发现,家庭冲突更严重的孩子在识别高兴和愤怒的表情时表现得和其他孩子一样好。

“They just couldn’t identify neutral accurately,” she said.

“他们只是不能准确地识别中性表情,”她说。

The study has limitations: The children were reacting to posed photos of the same youthful white actors. In real life, of course, faces are moving — something that limits the applications of numerous studies in this area. The children also misread neutral as happy about as often as they misread it as angry, which is different from some other studies in this area. And it’s possible that they will grow out of the tendency as they age, she acknowledged.

这项研究具有局限性:孩子们判断的是同一批年轻白人演员的摆拍照片。在现实生活中,表情当然是动态的——这限制了这个领域大量研究的实用性。孩子们将中性表情误读为高兴的几率和误读为愤怒的几率几乎一样,这个结果与该领域的其他研究结果不同。而且她承认,随着年龄的增长,这种倾向可能会逐渐消失。

Still, the findings support a point other researchers in this field sometimes make: Those most in need of a benign interaction often have the hardest time recognizing one.

尽管如此,研究结果还是支持了该领域其他研究人员有时会提出的观点:那些最需要良性互动的人往往最难做出分辨。

A parallel phenomenon has been shown to sabotage people suffering from depression and anxiety.

有一种并行现象已被证明会在暗中影响患抑郁症和焦虑症的人。

“People with anxiety disorders are likely to see fear when it’s absent,” and to “misclassify neutral expressions as angry, fearful, or just generally negative,” said Dr. Marsh, the Georgetown professor, who recently published a book called “The Fear Factor: How One Emotion Connects Altruists, Psychopaths, and Everyone In-Between.”

“焦虑症患者可能会在没有恐惧的情况下看到恐惧”,并且“将中性的表情误判为愤怒、恐惧,或者就大体上判断为负面,”乔治城大学教授马什说。他最近出版了一本书,名叫《恐惧因子——一种感情如何将利他主义者、精神病态者及两者之间的所有人相连》(The Fear Factor: How One Emotion Connects Altruists, Psychopaths, and Everyone In-Between)。

Depression, similarly, has been found to function almost like distortion goggles, filtering out signs of joy and happiness while magnifying signs of sadness or anger.

抑郁症也已被证明几乎和失真眼镜的原理一样,会过滤掉喜悦和快乐的表情,放大悲伤或愤怒的迹象。

The good news is that there is some evidence that people can learn to see ambiguity in a more positive light.

好消息是,有证据表明人们可以从更积极的角度来认识这样的模糊性。

Melissa Brotman, a clinical neuroscientist at the National Institute of Mental Health who develops treatments to help chronically irritable children, has found that they have a tendency to “perceive neutral or ambiguous faces as more hostile and fear-producing than typically developing youth.” But after a week of training with a computerized feedback tool in a small early pilot study, not only did the children stop seeing so much hostility in ambiguous faces, but parents and clinicians also noticed that their moods improved considerably.

美国国家精神健康研究院(National Institute of Mental Health)临床神经科学家梅丽萨·布罗特曼(Melissa Brotman)在开发帮助长期易怒儿童的疗法。她发现,他们往往会比“一般发育中的青年更容易把中性或模糊的面孔理解为有敌意或使其产生恐惧”。但在一个借助了电子反馈工具的小型早期试点研究中,这些孩子经过一周的训练,不仅不会在模糊的脸庞中看到那么多的敌意,父母和临床医生还注意到他们的情绪也有了显著的改善。

So what do you do if you’re an adult who often thinks friends and colleagues are upset with you? Dr. Schermerhorn advised trying to remember that just because a face is not brimming with positivity, it does not mean that it is conveying something negative. Also remember that what you’re picking up on might just be a person’s eyebrows. Low brows and brows that slope in like a V have a tendency to telegraph anger, researchers have found, even when none is present.

那么,如果你是一个经常认为朋友和同事对你不满的成年人,该怎么办?舍默霍恩建议,试着记住,脸上没有写满正面的态度,并不意味着就是在传递着负面的信息。也要记住,你所留意的可能只是一个人的眉毛。研究人员发现,低眉或倾斜成“V”字型的眉毛往往会传递出愤怒的信号,哪怕并不存在愤怒。

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