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Chattanooga Times Free Press - Parade - - PICKS - By Mar­i­lyn vos Sa­vant Send ques­tions to mar­i­lyn @ pa­

Is rolling the eyes a learned be­hav­ior? And if so, when did we start do­ing it?

—Steve C., Wal­nut­port, Pa.

Yes, it's learned, and the be­hav­ior is known to date back at least for cen­turies. (Shake­speare de­scribed it in the 1500s.) But it meant some­thing en­tirely dif­fer­ent: Rolling the eyes was an ex­pres­sion of lust! Over the last sev­eral decades, this mean­ing did an about-face and be­came the fa­mil­iar sig­nal of dis­dain or scorn per­fected by teenage girls. (Boys are far less likely to ex­press their dis­ap­proval this way.) The fa­cial ex­pres­sion is also em­ployed much more by adult women, but many men now en­joy it too.

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