There are people who, rather than maintaining relatively neutral faces - default to a few expressions which they nearly constantly "wear". These are very literally "physiologic masks". Ted Cruz is one of these people.
The image above shows the Texas Senator with his most common facial default.
The three key components of Cruz's expression are:
1. Elevated Central Forehead Contraction (Elevated-CFC)
2. Elevated Inner (medial) Eyebrows
3. Partial Mouth "Smile" (an insincere smile)
It's important to stress that his mouth is configured in an insincere smile and, as it is here - nearly always suppressed.
Of course, we all make this expression occasionally when we're feeling:
3. Smug Disbelief
All three of these emotions may also be manifested by other facial expressions. It's also crucial to remember that we're all allowed to feel arrogant, contemptuous, or smug incredulity - after all, we're human (But hopefully we don't feel these too often).
While ninety-six percent of us make this expression once in a while, four percent of the population displays this expression quite often.
Other than the fact we don't like others to project arrogance, contempt, or disbelief in our direction - there's another reason we are repulsed by this expression: for most of the time when the central forehead and inner eyebrows are elevated - the mouth is configured in a painful or saddened manner. But when we see a bit of a smile with an elevated central forehead - it sends out red flags. It doesn't feel right. It's alienating. But not everyone catches this warning sign.
Summary: The frequent display of this expression (elevated central forehead contraction, elevated inner eyebrows, with a partial mouth smile) is, among other things, an extremely reliable signal for chronic insincerity.
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