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Meaningful facial expression: Which laugh is particularly well received?

Meaningful facial expression: Which laugh is particularly well received?


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What does a “successful” smile look like?
American scientists have investigated the question of what a “successful” smile looks like. The results are particularly important for plastic surgery, for example when doctors want to help a patient smile again after an accident or a serious illness.

Meaningful facial expression
When German researchers recently reported that they had solved the riddle of Mona Lisa's smile, critics said that it was still unclear whether it was an expression of sadness or happiness. The facial expression usually reveals a lot about a person, it is also part of the facial diagnosis that helps doctors diagnose diseases. Smiles also indicate how someone feels. However, some people can no longer smile due to accidents or illnesses. Surgeons who want to help the patient often find it difficult to design the face so that the smile looks “successful” again. New findings from US researchers are helpful here.

Smile is contagious
When you meet a smiling person, the corners of your mouth often pull up quickly. However, some also smile out of insecurity or arrogance, for some the grin is not serious, but only fake.

Smile is part of our facial expression and can tell a lot about you. And we can tell a lot about ourselves.

In a study, researchers led by Nathaniel Helwig from the US University of Minnesota looked at which smile is well received by the other person.

What does a “successful” smile look like?
There is no perfect smile, but the US experts have found out what a particularly “successful” smile looks like.

As the researchers report in the journal "PLOS ONE", a pleasant smile that is perceived as real depends on the position of the corners of the mouth, the width of the smile and the extent to which the teeth can be seen.

These findings are particularly important for doctors who attempted plastic surgery to help people who can no longer smile because of an accident or a serious illness, reports the APA news agency.

Communicate emotional states through the facial expression
"The ability to convey emotional states through facial expressions is a fundamental aspect of social interactions and non-verbal communication," write the scientists.

For example, it protects against danger if you understand how to correctly interpret an angry or trustworthy face.

And smile plays an important role, especially in interpersonal relationships.

As the agency report says, studies have shown that people who can't smile properly tend to be depressed.

Combination of three characteristics
In order to investigate how a smile is perceived by a person opposite, the researchers showed 3D animations of smiling faces to over 800 study participants and asked them what the face expressed and how real, successful and pleasant they felt the smile.

According to the scientists, less smile is more often more. Accordingly, a smile reaching from ear to ear was not necessarily perceived as particularly pleasant and genuine by the test subjects.

And a subdued smile didn't necessarily look wrong or uncomfortable.

According to the researchers, it turned out that the combination of three features in particular must be coherent for a successful smile: how strongly the corners of the mouth are drawn up, how far apart the corners of the mouth are and - especially - how strongly the teeth are visible.

Highly visible teeth disturb a rather narrow smile, while they can make it more pleasant with a broad grin.

But it must "be clear that there is not just a really, really good smile," said study co-author Stephen Guy, according to a report by the British newspaper "The Guardian". "Just because your smile is different ... doesn't mean that it's bad in any way."

Slightly asymmetrical smiles are well received
In the future, the new findings would have to be taken more into account in plastic surgery.

In addition to the factors mentioned, it was also found that the subjects rated a slightly asymmetrical smile as particularly successful, i.e. when the left and right corners of the mouth pulled up with a tiny delay.

Rachel Jack from the University of Glasgow welcomed the work of the Americans. "Most research is based on static images that omit potentially important information about facial dynamics," said the psychologist, according to the Guardian. "This study belongs to a new generation of work." (Ad)

Author and source information


Video: DWIGHTS BEST QUOTES - The Office US (June 2022).


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