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How to tell a fake smile from a real one

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Although you can sometimes tell a real smile by the little wrinkles that form next to your eyes when you laugh, this is only partly true, because if you try it yourself, you will notice that the little wrinkles can also form in a fake smile. What is more difficult to influence consciously, however, is the orbicularis oculi muscle, i.e. the eye ring muscle, because with a real smile, this muscle causes the eyebrows to drop very slightly in the direction of the eyelid. When smiling falsely, people usually pay attention to looking perfect, so that a wrinkling of the nose is therefore rather counterproductive, because you want to present a level image of your face, after all. If you look at pictures of yourself smiling warmly and honestly, you will notice that here the nose crinkles slightly, which happens through the facial muscles that the limbic system activates when you smile genuinely. When people put on a fake smile, they have to consciously pretend in order to make it look genuine, whereby they then easily forget to adjust the rest of their posture to the smile, i. e. when people are really happy and laugh heartily, their posture is also relaxed and open, i.e. they lean towards their conversation partner and their arms are loose and not crossed.

Basic facts: Smiling is often used quite consciously as a social signal in communication, for example to apologise or to create a positive atmosphere, or smiling is usually an invitation to communicate. The facial expressions of the other person therefore influence our social coexistence, because if you receive a friendly smile, processes automatically take place in the brain that increase your sense of well-being, i.e. a kind of unconscious emotion transmission takes place. Even a radiant smile that you throw at yourself in the mirror after getting up can have a positive influence on the rest of the day. A genuine smile usually indicates an open, spontaneous personality, which is why smiling people are almost always perceived as positive, because a smile signals health, vitality and openness, values that have positive connotations in today’s society. Often a smile is also used consciously in social stress situations to reduce current tensions with a positive signal, whereby the smile on the one hand signals a positive attitude towards the smiled at person on the outside, while on the other hand it supports self-confidence on the inside. Smiling also has an aggression-inhibiting effect and can dissolve negative tensions, because you are unlikely to start an argument with someone you are smiling at.