Eyes take gossip to heart

A face becomes easier to see after the beholder learns bad things about its owner

2:33pm, May 19, 2011

Faces of people who get tarred in the press or blasted behind their backs in snarky gabfests may literally stand out in the crowd. People find it particularly easy to see the faces of individuals about whom they’ve heard nasty or unpleasant gossip, reports a team led by psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett of Northeastern University in Boston.

“Encountering negative gossip about someone makes it easier to register that person’s face than neutral or positive gossip does,” says Feldman Barrett.

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