Science News

Why the Germans Look So Down in the Mouth

Sun, 27th Aug 2000

Do you know a grumpy german, or are you yourself a grumpy german ? Scientists think that may be able to explain why Germans are renowned for their poor sense of humour. Research carried out by psychologist professor David Myers from Hope College, Michigan, suggests that the facial muscles used to make the movements required to speak german are the same muscles used to frown and turn the corners of the mouth down when sad, making the speaker feel depressed ! Speaking English, on the other hand, with sounds like ‘ah’ and ‘ee’ as in ‘car’ and ‘bee’ have the opposite effect, using muscles used to produce smiles and laughter when we are happy. According to Professor Myers, “the facial expression of a person can affect how funny they find things like cartoons - even when speaking, movements of the muscles in the face can change a person’s mood…this could be why German people have got a reputation for humourless and grumpy”

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