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How to say 'nah' anywhere in the world

Purse your lips and furrow your brow: You’ve just made a sign for “no” that’s the same all over the world, Discovery News reports. Not all facial expressions translate so readily to different cultures—many, like smiling, vary in meaning depending on where you go. But now, researchers have shown that native speakers of four different languages—English, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, and American Sign Language—all use the same furrowed brow and pursed lips to indicate disapproval. The study, published yesterday in the journal Cognition, calls this the “not” face—and says it’s especially important in American Sign Language, where it can reverse the meaning of signs it’s paired with. The researchers say that facial expressions indicating negative emotions might have evolved early on in humans.

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