All smiles follow the same language, a well-known proverb, yet contested by social knowledge of man. Not all smiles are genuine and therefore, not all speak in the same language. Nonverbal expression, especially through facial movements, helps in understanding the meaning of the messages communicated. Facial expression forms an integral part of the interaction.
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A smile can speak a thousand languages and are often attributable with immense power for inner and social healing. A true smile has immense contribution to address problems faced by man. Therefore, the importance of smile to the man is immense.
Consequently, it is important to understand if one can identify the difference between a fake and genuine smile. Hence, there is a difference between fake and real smile, which can be differentiated by social as well as scientific factors. This essay tries to find out the reasons that govern the difference between the real and fake smile and how the difference can be identified.
Human face is an amalgamation of a large amount of dynamic information and plays an important role in interpersonal communication. Smiles can be real or fake and there are different interpretations regarding the differentiation between the two.
Science states that there is a scientific way of identifying the difference between a genuine and a fake smile. In fact, the real smile that eludes happiness is called the “Duchenne smile” named after the French scientist, Guillaume Duchenne, who studied facial expression in humans is the late nineteenth century.
Scientists believe a Duchenne smile involves two muscles viz. zygomatic major and orbicularis oculi that helps in smiling. Zygotamic major raises the corners of our mouth and orbicularis oculi makes crow’s feet next to our eyes when the cheeks are raised due to smiling.
In case of a real smile movement of both these muscles are observed while in case of a fake smile only zygomatic major moves twisting the corners of the lips but no visible movement around the eye. This is an observable difference between a fake and real smile but the question that arises is that what is the reason for such a difference between the two smiles?
In reality, scientists believe that these two smiles i.e. a fake and real smile, are controlled by two different parts of the brain. The reason for such a belief is when the smile is consciously created the left part of the brain responds to such desire, and therefore, moves only the left part of the face.
Consequently, only the left part of the face smiles asymmetrically, with the right side of the face not moving likewise. However, when the smile is a spontaneous response it has no asymmetries. Therefore, this resulted in the belief of the scientists that the two types of smiles are controlled by two different parts of the brain.
Scientists found that the fake smile is controlled by the motor cortex and that of the real smile is controlled by the limbic system, which is actually the emotional warehouse of the brain. Therefore, the scientific reason for the difference in real and fake smile is due to the control of different parts of the brain.
Some researchers have differentiated between a fake and real smile by the duration of the time of the smile itself. They believe that a smile lasting for 500 and 4000 ms are real smiles as opposed to fake smiles that can be shorter or longer. Another difference between the two arose in the shorter onset and offset time for the fake smiles as compared to the emotionally stimulated real smiles.
The scientific differences between a fake and a real smile is also related with the inability of man to activate certain muscles voluntarily results in a different expression in case of a fake smile as opposed to a naturally stimulated smile that stimulates all the muscles creating the right facial expression. Therefore, the scientific reason states that a real smile would stimulate all the facial muscles while a fake smile will not be able to stimulate all the facial muscles resulting in a different expression.
Socially the difference is seen in the difference in the smile in the eye. A fake smile moves the lips and makes the lips smile however, the smile is not carried over to the eyes.
On the other hand, a real smile is always reflected in the eyes of an individual. Therefore, a real smile makes the eyes smile while a fake smile does not. Therefore, the difference between a fake and real smile is observable if the eye is closely followed.
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Smiles are an integral part of nonverbal communication. A smile can speak million languages. Therefore, understanding a smile and if it is a real or a fake smile helps in understanding the real meaning behind such communications.
Both scientific and social reasons acknowledge and explain the difference in a fake and real smile. In conclusion, it must be noted that a fake smile is created voluntarily and therefore fails to illicit the true smiling expression on human face, while a real smile, stimulated by the real emotions, illicit the true expressions on the face. Therefore, a genuine smile charges up the face and makes it look beautiful.