A facial expression is one or more motions or positions of the muscles beneath the skin of the face. These movements convey the emotional state of an individual to observers. Facial expressions are a form of nonverbal communication. They are a primary means of conveying social information between humans, but they also occur in most other mammals and some other animal species.
Humans can adopt a facial expression voluntarily or involuntarily, and the neural mechanisms responsible for controlling the expression differ in each case. Voluntary facial expressions are often socially conditioned and follow a cortical route in the brain. Conversely, involuntary facial expressions are believed to be innate and follow a subcortical route in the brain.
Facial recognition is often an emotional experience for the brain and the amygdala is highly involved in the recognition process.
The eyes are often viewed as important features of facial expressions. Aspects such as blinking rate can be used to indicate whether or not a person is nervous or whether or not he or she is lying. Also, eye contact is considered an important aspect of interpersonal communication. However, there are cultural differences regarding the social propriety of maintaining eye contact or not.
Beyond the accessory nature of facial expressions in spoken communication between people, they play a significant role in communication with sign language. Many phrases in sign language include facial expressions in the display.
There is controversy surrounding the question of whether or not facial expressions are worldwide and universal displays among humans. Supporters of the Universality Hypothesis claim that many facial expressions are innate and have roots in evolutionary ancestors. Opponents of this view question the accuracy of the studies used to test this claim and instead believe that facial expressions are conditioned and that people view and understand facial expressions in large part from the social situations around them.
The Hmong (RPA: Hmoob/Moob, IPA: [m̥ɔ̃ŋ]) are an Asian ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Hmong are also one of the sub-groups of the Miao ethnicity (苗族) in southern China. Hmong groups began a gradual southward migration in the 18th century due to political unrest and to find more arable land. Hmong are rich in culture, art and family and are distinguished by costume/dress (fabric patterns represent fruit, vegetables, farming, chickens, eggs, etc.)
The United States recruited a number of Hmong people to help fight against the communist Pathet Lao, known as the secret war, during the Laotian Civil War. Hmong people were singled out for retribution when the Pathet Lao took over the Laotian government in 1975, and tens of thousands fled to Thailand seeking political asylum. Thousands of these refugees have resettled in Western countries since the late 1970s, mostly the United States, but also in Australia, France, French Guiana, Canada, and South America. Others have returned to Laos under United Nations-sponsored repatriation programs.