“When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you,” or so the old song goes. That’s how the composer of that song saw the power of a single smile — it is capable of making the whole world smile. Of course, this is just an exaggeration, but, according to this scientific study, a smile is still powerful nonetheless.
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The study, published in Experimental Psychology, evaluated the impact of a covert smile on perception of face and body expressions. In both scenarios, a smile was induced by participants holding a pen between their teeth, forcing their facial muscles to replicate the movement of a smile.
The research found that facial muscular activity not only alters the recognition of facial expressions but also body expressions, with both generating more positive emotions.
Lead researcher and human and artificial cognition expert, UniSA’s Dr Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos says the finding has important insights for mental health.
“When your muscles say you’re happy, you’re more likely to see the world around you in a positive way,” Dr Marmolejo-Ramos says.
More details about this study over at ScienceDaily.
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