The Science of the Smile

by Liz Colville

“You’re an idiot, I’m better than you’ — that’s what we mean by a dominant smile.” — Among the observations made by a group of scientists in an extensive study of the smile: the fake smile, the real smile, the French smile, the American smile, the chimpanzee smile, the “dominant smile,” which you can do by grinning and tilting your chin up so that you’re looking down on the idiots below. Plus: “When a smiling person locks eyes with another person, the viewer unknowingly mimics a smile as well.” This is good news, because I always just feel like I’m smiling when another person smiles at me, and I have no way of finding out whether I actually am (except, I guess, by inquiring: “Excuse me, could you tell me if I just smiled at you?”) [Via]

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