Friday, March 20, 2009

The Zygomatic Smile


As a number of you figured out, the trick to differentiating a real smile from a fake one is the eyes.

That’s because there are two different muscle groups that create smiles.

Both true and forced smiles use the zygomaticus major muscles – the ones that control the lifting of the corners of the lips.

In addition, a second muscle group, the obicularis oculi, also comes into play when smiling. As you can guess from the name, these muscles surround the eyes. The inner half of this muscle group controls the eyelids and the skin directly below them. The outer half runs around the outside of the eye, pulling down the eyebrows and raising the skin under the outer eye and over the cheekbones when you smile.

Like the zygomaticus majors, the inside group can be controlled voluntarily; however, only about 10% of people studied can consciously control the outer group. So, to tell a fake smile from a real one, you need to study the eyebrows (are they drawn down?), the cheeks (are they lifted up?) and the skin beneath the outer eye (is it crinkled?).
So now you're ready to move on to something tougher. See how well you do identifying emotions just from the eyes at Mind in the Eyes.

15 comments:

  1. I scored 25. I obviously need to work on my skills!

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  2. I love this stuff Jeanne, thanks for posting it...that is the same way comedians get laughs from the audience with their facial features like this!

    I am not laughing however at my score, but hey...mine are real :)

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  3. If you like this stuff, look up "Sandler" psychological selling techiques that are borderline unethical.. They give you a profiling test before you start the program- by the graph, it looked like I was fuctionally insane...

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  4. 28. I'm in the normal range. That's great, where do you find these tests?

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  5. I don't smile with my eyes because it causes wrinkles. So far it's not working out too well for me.

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  6. I'll never be able to fake smile again.

    At least I'll be able to tell if others are faking it too.

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  7. Love this Jeanne!! You always have such original content over here...I always enjoy visiting.

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  8. Its fascinating isnt it? I lvoe learning about this stuff. Fake anything is bad news....

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  9. 27. I must admit I was smitten by some of those peepers! Jeepers creepers!

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  10. That was hard despite the fact that I look at eyes everyday at work all day!!! I got a 30 and I am surprised that I did so well. My eyebrows are lifted up right???

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  11. Jeanne, you are making me think too much! You know you can't test me on this stuff on the weekend:)

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  12. So that's how I got all these crows' feet!

    Just read your comment over at K's blog about using stuff for your blog or fiction and laughed!

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  13. This is really interesting stuff. Keep it coming, please!

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  14. smiling eyes? I don't know. I think you can spot a real smile by how much of their gums they show.

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