The Science of Smiling, Part Deux

In February, I explored some of the science behind the human smile in my post Show Your Smile! Putting a smile on your face will boost your mood and increase your potential for long-term happiness.

In February, I explored some of the science behind the human smile in my post Show Your Smile! Putting a smile on your face will boost your mood and increase your potential for long-term happiness.

A genuine smile also sends the message to others that we are likeable, trustworthy and dependable – the kind of person others want to do business with, engage in conversation, or build meaningful relationships with.


Here’s the catch … your smile has to be genuine! The human brain can and will spot a fake smile; it is biologically programmed to be instantly wary of the fake smile – and the person behind it.

Though your noggin does some of the work for you, there are ways in which you can consciously spot a fake smile – and take precautions when needed.

According to recent research, the one surefire way to spot a spontaneous smile is by paying close attention to the eyes of the person in question. Researchers at Bangor University in Wales have concluded that the “contraction of the orbicularis oculi, the muscle surrounding the eyeball,” is the best way to tell if a smile is real – or not.

Listen, they don’t say that they eyes are the window to the soul for nothing – like many modern colloquialisms, this saying is less old wives’ tale and more honest to goodness solid advice!

This particular study also led researchers to the conclusion that individuals who smiled more frequently, and with greater sincerity, were selected as partners in their “game show”-style game more often – even when the cash payouts were greater with players displaying polite, or non-genuine, smiles.

A real smile (with less cash) was deemed more valuable than the fake smile (and more cash).

This is an important concept to note and utilize for all your relationships – personal and professional.

If you think you are being duped by the grinning used-car salesman, your teenager who swears she’s heading to the library, or the hubby that’s promising your dress doesn’t make your ankles look fat – take a look at the corners of their eyes.

Unless you see some wrinklage there – no matter their age – you’ve got yourself some suspicious circumstances. Time to start asking questions.

Plastering on a smile is easy – making the eyes cooperate is something else entirely.

And remember this the next time you feel a “polite-ness” coming on that isn’t in line with your true feelings. Chances are good your audience may be on to you.

QUICK! Think of something happy and let your smile ring true!

Exactly How to De-Escalate Aggression From a Stranger

Follow security Expert Bill Staton's important advice to keep yourself safe.

Have you ever had a tense interaction with a stranger in public? Perhaps your shopping carts accidentally knocked into each other or there was a misunderstanding in communication and the other person gets angry. You may wonder how you can de-escalate the aggression and exit the situation safely. So security expert Bill Stanton has your go-to advice for staying alert and protecting yourself in the face of verbal aggression and physical attacks.

THE INITIAL INTERACTION

Bill Stanton: "It always starts with something small, like someone being too close to you, or even more common, you get bumped by a shopping cart. You want to look at their eyes first -it may reveal emotional changes. But you can't rely on just that. Look at what their trunk is doing; a person's torso will reveal their intent. Body language like raising hands, heightened expression, tense shoulders — these are natural responses to a person who is feeling threatened and will escalate. They may begin to zero in on the space between you and them, and their voice will get louder and louder. You want to read this before it gets further and becomes explosive."

Keep Reading Show less