Scientists have discovered what causes Resting Bitch Face
But there was one big difference, she added. FaceReader, being a piece of software and therefore immune to gender bias, proved to be the great equalizer: It detected RBF in male and female faces in equal measure. Which means that the idea of RBF as a predominantly female phenomenon has little to do with facial physiology and more to do with social norms.
February 2, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. EST
Queen Elizabeth has it. So does fashion designer Victoria Beckham. And actress Kristen Stewart – poor thing, she’s practically the poster girl.
Among the slew of pop culture icons said to be afflicted with so-called Resting Bitch Face (alternatively known as Bitchy Resting Face), the vast majority are women, though Kanye West is among the male examples. All of them have been mocked by Internet commenters for having a certain unintentional expression when their faces are not in motion – a look best described as vaguely annoyed, maybe a little judgy, perhaps slightly bored.
Since the RBF meme took over the Internet in 2013, fueled by a viral mock-PSA about “Bitchy Resting Face,” legions of people have identified the dreaded phenomenon in celebrity listicles, in their own social circles, even in the mirror.
So Jason Rogers and Abbe Macbeth, behavioral researchers with international research and innovation firm Noldus Information Technology, decided to investigate: Why are some faces seen as truly expressionless, but others are inexplicably off-putting? What, exactly, makes us register a seemingly neutral expression as RBF?
“We wanted this to be fun and kind of tongue-in-cheek, but also to have legitimate scientific data backing it up,” Macbeth said.
The researchers enlisted Noldus’s FaceReader, a sophisticated tool engineered to identify specific expressions based on a catalogue of more than 10,000 images of human faces. The software, which can examine faces through a live camera, a photograph or a video clip, maps 500 points on the human face, then analyzes the image and assigns an expression based on eight basic human emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, disgust, contempt, and “neutral.”
To establish a baseline, Rogers and Macbeth first had FaceReader assess a series of genuinely expressionless faces. Those expressions registered about 97 percent neutrality, Macbeth said; the remaining three percent included “little blips of emotion” – a touch of sadness here, a hint of surprise there, but nothing significant.
Then they plugged in photos of RBF all-stars Kanye West, Kristen Stewart and Queen Elizabeth. Suddenly, the level of emotion detected by the software doubled to six percent.
One particular emotion was responsible for the jump: “The big change in percentage came from ‘contempt,'” Macbeth said.
And how exactly does a piece of software measure contempt in a face?
It’s in subtle signals, like “one side of the lip pulled back slightly, the eyes squinting a little,” Rogers explained.
Or: “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,” Macbeth suggested.
The cues are understated, yet the machine detects and interprets them the same way our human brains do, she said. “Something in the neutral expression of the face is relaying contempt, both to the software and to us.”
Consider actress Anna Kendrick, who has publicly bemoaned the effect of RBF on her life.
“When she was younger, directors would say, ‘Why don’t you smile more, you need to smile more, you don’t seem like you’re very happy,'” Macbeth said. “That’s 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.”
Worried that you might have RBF? Now you can find out for sure. After publishing their results in October, Rogers and Macbeth invited members of the public to submit their own faces for analysis. Guys and gals alike are welcome to email photos of their most “neutral” facial expressions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and FaceReader will tell you if you’re actually expressionless – or if you and the Queen have RBF in common.
Caitlin Gibson is a feature writer at The Washington Post. Since joining The Post in 2005, she has contributed feature stories, essays, long-form enterprise and local news to the paper and The Washington Post Magazine.
Russians laugh at nuking New York City
If you’re constantly accused of cheating, your partner may be the unfaithful one
“Guilt transference” is a ploy commonly used by cheaters. If your spouse is unfairly accusing you of cheating, she might be hiding something herself…
My wife worked in a high-powered male-dominated field, while I work in decor and deal with many women. She started accusing me of flirting when she heard me talking to clients on the phone, then she kept asking me whom I was seeing when I went on calls to clients’ homes.
I was innocent and didn’t see the signals that SHE was cheating and trying to deflect any suspicions I might have had about her, since she often worked late and travelled for work.
The truth came out when I saw her lover’s texts on her phone, which she thought she’d lost.
But I found it stuck under a seat of her car when I drove it in for repairs as a favour to her.
It must’ve felt like watching a magician’s performance of the Great Transferring Act. You got wrongly accused and hounded about things you never did, while the swirl of accusatory questions and unfair blame kept you from seeing the reality.
Her daily sham production — the powerful job, her time spent with her lover, playing the wife role back home — all made for a drama which she had to keep going so you wouldn’t even look for the truth.
It’s a destructive ploy that’s not uncommonly used by determined cheaters. Many therapists have noted this “guilt transference” among people who refuse to take responsibility for their own misbehaviour.
You haven’t said that it’s over. But it’s hard to imagine that she would drop her self-righteous pose to admit she’d been the bad guy in the marriage, and want to repair it.
I met this guy through a mutual friend whom I trusted. Though he lived out of town, he did business in my city and visited me often. We became intimate and I thought he could be the One.
I ignored the small concern about why he didn’t contact me much during the week when he was in his city, unless he was in his car.
He’d phone me when travelling to clients, and he’d say the most romantic things and wind me up about our being together again.
But once when he travelled abroad and didn’t contact me at all, I was hurt and told him so when he returned. He kept saying he “couldn’t do that,” and it suddenly clicked.
He was travelling with another woman. It turned out she was his fiancée and they were married a few months later. What a scumbag! I no longer think much of our “friend,” either.
Duped and Disgusted
That was no friend, if he/she knew the guy was already deeply attached, and/or a proven player (since he was pretty practiced at deceit).
A lover who only calls you from a car usually signals that he/she’s a cheater. It means the person can’t call any other time. It’s likely you weren’t the only other person this guy was stringing along, even while he was engaged.
He’s also the kind of unashamed rogue who may try to reconnect after newlywed life makes him feel hemmed in (I give that about six months max).
Don’t even have the conversation with Scumbag, or he’ll try winding you up again.
The lesson: Check out your “small concerns” in any next relationship. Look for reasons that make sense. Otherwise, recognize the red flags and follow them to whatever’s being hidden.
Tip of the day
If you’re innocent but constantly being accused, look closer at who might be the cheater.
a robot ?
what the fuck are we gonna do with a robot?
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a curated photo portfolio of pins created by patrick scheidegger [ username: fom tooley ] on Pinterest Blonde Cheerleader