Friday, October 21, 2022
Yet another study, this time by researchers at Stanford University, has shown that faking a smile can genuinely improve a person's mood.
One theory that explains this human behaviour says that changes in physiology trick the brain into thinking about changes in mood and emotions. Like a rising heartbeat is considered fear or excitement, a grin could deceive the brain and evoke actual happiness.
The "conscious experience" of emotion can lead to the actual emotion, explained the lead author of the study in a university release.
If someone furrows their eyebrows, it can evoke feelings of anger and the same goes with a smile, said Dr Nicholas Coles.
With his team, Dr Coles analysed prior studies and found abundant evidence supporting the hypothesis that a fake smile leads to happiness.
A new experiment was thus designed dubbed, "The Many Smiles Collaboration", where experts studied 3,878 people from 19 different countries.
Half of the people were required to put pens in their mouths and look at pleasant images of puppies, kittens, and flowers. Others were instructed to fake smiles by lifting their lips and cheeks without the pen in their mouths.
People were asked to do so to just move the muscles in their faces similar to what happens when we smile.
The researchers, who published their findings in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, found that it was important to know how to fake a smile.
The pen-in-mouth technique was found to be ineffective. Coles said they did not know why the method was not as reliable but it could be due to the strain the teeth feel during this activity. In a genuine smile, the teeth are not under pressure and are not clenching.
“Over the past few years, science took one step back and a few steps forward. But now we’re closer than ever to understanding a fundamental part of the human condition: emotion,” Coles said.