Fake Smile and Genuine Smile [March 02 2017]

Have a look at the 20 faces below. Decide if they are expressing a fake or a genuine smile. Use the answer sheet given here. Put "F" indicating "fake" or "G" indicating "genuine" next to the numbers. You can check your answers at the bottom of this page.


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Now look at the 20 faces:

How good are you at spotting fake smiles? Actually fake smiles are very similar to genuine smiles. The facial expression we refer to as "the smile" is not a singular category of facial behavior (Frank, Ekman, Friesen, 2005).

In 1862 the French anatomist G. B. Duchenne noted that the orbocularis oculi muscle, which surrounds the eye, is recruited in smiles that occur with spontaneously experienced enjoyment but not in smiles that are posed (fake smile).

This particular configuration of the enjoyment smile identified by Duchenne - the orbicularis oculi with zygomatic major - has been called the Duchenne smile (or D-smile) in honor of Duchenne's original observation.

Fake smiles and genuine smiles are brought about by different muscles, which are controlled by different parts of the brain (subcortical and cortical motor strip) and arrive at the face through different motor systems (extrapyramidal and pyramidal).

Based on empirical observation we can say that emotional expressions (in our case the real smile) have a more limited duration than do nonemotional expressions (fake smile). The former usually between 0.5 and 4 s in length, while the latter varies from 0.25 to considerably longer than 4 s.

We can perform a fake smile at will. The brain signals that create them come from the conscious part of the brain and prompt the zygomaticus major muscles in the cheeks to contract.

Look how Katharine Hepburn is performing a fake smile in the scene below:

Resource: http://giphy.com/gifs/katharine-hepburn-gif-DSDcp77b7OsjS

Genuine smiles are generated by the unconscious brain (subcortical strip), so are automatic. When you feel pleasure, signals pass through the part of your brain that processes emotion.You will have the D-smile in the end.

Look how Paul Walker is performing a genuine smile (focus on the muscle around the eyes):

Resource: http://giphy.com/gifs/paul-walker-5bHtNRtkjqF32

Look at the following 4 smiles and decide if they are Genuine (enjoyment smile or D-smile) or Fake.

(1) Here is Vanessa:

Resource: http://giphy.com/gifs/vanessa-8825ZA7axiWxq

(2) Here is Mr. Murray:

Resource: http://giphy.com/gifs/smile-bill-murray-smirk-4ebk4ugCFeuli

(3) Here is Isaac Hayes:

Resource: http://giphy.com/gifs/isaachayes-70s-grin-B4XSCV7qw0n2E

(4) Here is the Princess:

Resource: http://giphy.com/gifs/smile-flirting-flirt-3o7TKOBMF2Enk9gBS8

Now check your answers.

SOLUTIONS: Vanessa = Genuine; Mr. Murray = Fake; Hayes = Fake and Princess=Genuine


1-G 2-F 3-F 4-F 5-G 6-G 7-F 8-G 9-F 10-G 11-G 12-F 13-F 14-F 15-G 16-G 17-G 18-F 19-G 20-F


Frank, M. G.; Ekman, P.; Friesen, W. V. (2005): Behavioral Markers and Recognizability of the Smile of Enjoyment. In: Ekman, P.; Rosemberg, E. L. edit (2005): What The Face Reveals. Basic and Applied Studies of Spontaneous Expression Using the Facial Action Coding System (FACS). Oxford University Press


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by Bali Polyanki


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