Smiling is one of those things that we do every day – unless you have a personal vendetta against the world, of course. Sometimes we find ourselves smiling without even thinking about it, while other times we are forced to flash some teeth and pretend we’re having a good time. But there is more to smiling than we ever thought… In fact, smiling can reveal some hidden secrets about your personality, according to the experts.
Communication through smiling
Many things can make us smile. It could be the puppies in the park or a really good joke, but why do we feel the need to twist our mouths into a new shape? Well, it’s all about communication. While many animals bear their teeth as a threat and to tell someone to “back away”, us humans have adapted this facial feature into something used as a greeting. From a young age, we learn that smiling is a way to portray we are happy. However, that doesn’t mean all smiles are real.
A shocking study
Duchenne was a French scientist determined to learn just how and why we smile. Although we might not be signing our names up for the experiment anytime soon, Duchenne used electrical stimulus to see if he could replicate a fake smile. The scientist then told his subject a joke and took a picture of each smile. So what were the findings? Duchenne discovered there were significant differences between the two – differences that were about to explain how to spot a fake.
A real smile
Real smiles come from more than just the mouth. In fact, if someone is genuinely smiling the corners of their eyes will also get involved. Our faces use the orbicularis oculi muscles found in the eyes and cheeks as well as the zygomatic major muscles located in the corners of our mouths. A real smile will also be controlled by the parts of our brains linked to emotions. That’s why we tend to feel happier after smiling – our minds work off the signals sent by the muscles.
A fake smile
On the other hand, a fake smile only involves using your mouth instead of your whole face showing your happiness. These are also controlled by the motor cortex part of our brains. This section is the part that controls voluntary movements. Makes sense as we are telling our faces to move that way!
Open or closed mouth
It is said that people who smile with their mouth closed may be wanting to remain professional or polite. However, it is usually taken to mean that someone is closed-off from the conversation. If you smile with all your teeth on show to the world, it usually says you are confident and go after your dreams.
That half smile
If you are the kind of person that offers up a half smile (maybe with a cheeky wink thrown in, too), then it is said to reveal a playful personality. This could also be the kind of smile that only comes out for certain situations.
Someone that shows their canine teeth when smiling is said to have a dominant personality. This links back to out time in the caves when the fangs of our face were used to portray leadership over the others in our group.
Lots of gum
Showing gum while flashing a smile can be a sign of childlike innocence and playfulness, but that isn’t all. This feature also means people are more trustworthy than others. This also means you can make others around you more trusting just by giving them a smile.
So, it looks as though people could be learning a lot more about us just from a smile than we ever thought possible. Next time you have a conversation with someone, you may start to look to see if their smile is genuine. Could you be in the presence of a fake?