Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

Real vs. fake smiles

This BBC Web site (via You Are Not So Smart) lets you test your ability to tell real smiles from fake smiles.

I won’t give away how you do it, but since I didn’t realize there was a difference, here’s a bit about them:

Although fake smiles often look very similar to genuine smiles, they are actually slightly different, because they are brought about by different muscles, which are controlled by different parts of the brain.

Fake smiles can be performed at will, because 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.

For more on these micro expressions, see Paul Eckman’s article “Lie Catching and Micro Expressions,” on Google Books.

[To the tune of The Art Of Noise, “Backbeat,” from the album In Visible Silence (a 3-star song, imo).]

1 Comment

  1. So is my 16 of 20 any good? I mistook 3 genuines for fakes, because those three didn’t pass my criterion. The fake I mistook for genuine was early in the game, and I write that off as learning the test rather than faulty judgment.

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