Thursday, February 21, 2008

How to Spot a Genuine Smile from a Fake Smile

Smiling is so easy to do ... just stretch the corners of your mouth to your ears and your done. Or if not, saying the word "cheese" will do the trick. Every one of us has our signature smile and we do it for different reasons. To appear pleasant, bestow approval, to show happiness or amusement; even when we feel embarrassed about something, we give out cute smiles to cover it up. Generally, smiles are given for positive reasons. Or is it?

There is really more to that happy smile than what you think. Sometimes smile is given to avoid hurting other's feelings. Like in a situation where you receive a gift from someone. An old fashioned flowery top that u can never imagine wearing. You really want to scream in horror and pass out. But being the good person you are, you just simply smile to let her think that you liked it. A clear false impression was given yet it's not noticeable since it is all patched up by a smile.

Seriously, how do we spot a real smile from a fake one? There is really not much of a difference between the two. But if we dig deeper to the mechanisms of how both are done, it may be easier for us to tell which is which. Experts say that real and fake smiles are not controlled by the same parts of the brain. Dr.Guy Curtis, a psychologist specializing in emotions and social behavior, stated that genuine smiles are produced spontaneously by the unconscious part of the brain; and the cerebral cortex (conscious brain) is the one responsible in creating fake smiles.

Since different portions of the brain generate both these smiles, the muscle groups that create them also vary. In a real smile (otherwise known as "Duchenne smile"), many muscle groups move involuntarily; mouth muscles contract, along with jaw and cheek movements which creases up the eyes (also known as crows feet). Although there's a small percent of people who have the ability of contracting these eye muscles to fake a real smile, 'crows feet' is said to be the most distinguishable feature of a genuine smile. However, In a fake smile (also called "polite smile" or "professional smile"), only the muscles that move the corners of the mouth are involved.

There are times when you see smiling eyes but when you get to the mouth it implies something else. Dr. Curtis stressed out that the symmetry of the mouth should also be considered to differentiate a real smile from a fake smile. Real smiles are symmetrical while fake smiles appear to be asymmetrical and is either a bit more left sided or right sided. From this observation he stated that the owner of the world's most enigmatic smile-Mona Lisa, has the left corner of her mouth turned a little bit higher than the right side, making it look asymmetrical. So when asked about his conclusion behind her smile, he replied " I think she is faking it". And added " that's my guess, but the only person who really knows is her."

More about smiles here ...

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