Smiling is a simple and common gesture made by people countless times in a day. Has smiling lost its effect on others through routine? I think that smiling will never lose its way of impacting others and us throughout our lives daily. Maybe smiles really are the gateway to ones true personality; maybe smiles really are just muscles tensing in one’s face; or maybe smiles are useless. Smiles affect our lives from the day we are born until the day that we die. I think we all might as well know a little more about how they work in order to utilize this special skill more effectively.
In the article, The Psychological Study of Smiling written by Eric Jaffe, we go through the science and benefits of smiling. Jaffe explains the muscle movements and autonomic acts of smiling. The most interesting part in my opinion is the way humans can decipher a “real” smile from a “fake” smile. The way one can tell a real smile from a fake smile is through the eyes (Jeffe, 2010). He then goes on to explain the variation of smiles. Smiles differ from different events such as “listening to jazz music, reading the Bible, looking at pornography, and decapitating live rats” (Jeffe 2010). Researchers have now decided that smiles do not show ones expression, but their true personality (Jeffe, 2010). This is the part of the article that really sparked my interest. My mother has always told me to put a smile on my face when I am feeling shy or sad or scared in order to mask my true emotions from the world. I always thought this to be true until finding out that this could be foiled by looking at my eyes. Is there a way for me to teach myself to mask my smile even more? Or even a way to learn to feel genuinely happy at all costs? Another important aspect of the article is social norms. From children growing up around people who are always frowning, are they more inclined to frown themselves? Jeffe explains that when a person who has genuine Duchenne smiles interviews individuals, they are more likely to Duchenne smile themselves (2010). This poses the question, are smiles contagious or just a social norm?
The science behind a smile is very simple. There are two main muscle structures in the face to create a Duchenne smile. The Zygomatic Major, which is in the cheeks, contracts, pulling the lips upward (Jeffe, 2010). This can be done at anytime causing a “fake smile.” The aspect that sets a fake smile apart from a real smile is the Orbicularis Oculi muscle, which creates happy eyes and wrinkles in the corner, or crow’s feet (Jeffe, 2010). Studies show that the amygdala plays a big part in the processing of facial expressions (Hurlemann and Colleagues, 2010). When Oxytocin and Dopamine released in the brain, which makes the individual feel positive emotions. The amygdala and hippocampus aid in remembering the feelings that one feels after seeing a friendly face or smiling stranger. (Hurlemann and Colleagues, 2010).
I think almost everyone...