Duchenne Smiles For The Win

Joy Thigpen

A Duchenne smile: a real smile. Smiling with your mouth but also your eyes. We can tell the difference between a real, Duchenne smile and a fake/social (mouth only) smile most importantly because we mirror them. We unknowingly mimic the smile and we feel if it was real or fake.In a study by Dr. Paula Niedenthal, people couldn't distinguish real or fake smiles when they were holding a pencil in their mouth and were unable to mimic the smile.Researchers are discovering smiling to be a part of an important feedback loop. When our face (really) smiles, it tells our brains we are happy, just as much as being happy tells our face to smile. So it seems it's possible to fake it till you make it...just be sure to fake it Duchenne style AND share a Duchenne smile to light up a friend or stranger's brain, too. Pretty cool.

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