What Your Smile Can Say About Your Emotions

3 years ago

Your smile can actually betray you and show what you really think. But on the other hand, you can read people’s minds if you know the nuances of facial expressions. And, spoiler alert, every smile does not translate into positive feelings toward you.

We at Bright Side discovered some noteworthy scientific findings about types of smiles and we would like to share them with you.

There are 3 main groups of smiles.

After studying people, researchers have divided smiles according to muscle combinations:

  1. Smile of reward. It’s a symmetrical hoist of zygomaticus muscles with an eyebrow lift. Lips are pulled.
  2. Smile of affiliation. It communicates tolerance, acknowledgment, or a bond. It’s also symmetrical but spread wider and thinner with pressed lips and no exposed teeth.
  3. Smile of dominance. It signifies status and it’s not symmetrical, with raised brows and lifted cheeks.

Besides this, researchers define more specific types that can show different shades of emotion.

1. Flirtatious smile

This is a very famous smile that we’ve seen many times in the Leonardo da Vinci painting of the Mona Lisa. It’s one of those mysterious and embarrassed smiles you use before quickly looking away again. This act lasts for just a moment.

Next time, you’ll realize that someone is flirting with you when you see this expression on a person who is looking at you.

2. Felt smile

The felt smile is easy to recognize. Muscles reflect genuine, uncontrolled, positive emotions. No other muscles in the lower part of the face are involved except for the muscles that circle the eyes, so you can see wrinkles. The felt smile can last long and be intense.

3. Contempt smile

The contemptuous smile is not a positive expression. It indicates a mixture of disgust or resentment. The corners of the lips are tightened and often one side of the lips is higher than the other.

4. Miserable smile

The miserable smile is a grin-and-bear-it expression. It’s very slight and asymmetric. You can see a deep sadness in the eyes of the person expressing it. Basically, it’s a type of protection and effort to hide misery. You can see this smile when a person is trying to pretend that they are okay with something, but they actually aren’t. Like watching a boring movie with your partner and you hate it, but have to be there.

5. Dampened smile

The dampened smile is an attempt to control a happy smile. It happens when we need to be polite and shouldn’t smile, even though there’s something that seems very funny. The cheeks are raised but the corners of your lips are down.

6. Qualifier smile

The qualifier smile has the aim of taking the edge off bad news. You have this expression when you find out that all the seats in a restaurant are reserved or busy. It begins abruptly. The lower lip is slightly raised and you might notice a tilt of the head.

7. Fake smile

The fake smile is easy to spot. The muscles around the eyes are not involved so you don’t see wrinkles. People often think that their eyes are also smiling when they try to pretend, but researchers have shown that it’s just an illusion.

8. Fear smile

The fear smile is shown using a silent bared-teeth display. It may look like you’re laughing, but you’re actually nervous. The teeth are tightly clamped together and the eyes get bigger. The eyebrows have a surprised expression.

How often do you try to fake a felt happy smile? What made you truly smile today?

Preview photo credit Depositphotos.com, Depositphotos.com


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I can never read someone else's emotions, no matter what's on their faces and if they try to fake their emotions - I will always trust them 😂


actually gonna pay more attention to people's lips now to see I can recognize their real emotions 😨


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