Health & Wellbeing

Put a Duchenne Smile on Your Dial

Step aside, Tyra Banks. Leanne Elliott is here to introduce the real originator of the ‘smize’.

Smiling is a universal language, but not many people know about the 1800s French neurologist by the name of Guillaume Duchenne.

Duchenne is perhaps best known for his research on facial expressions and body language. Using electric shock experiments, Duchenne was able to determine which muscles were used to form certain facial expressions.

Duchenne photographed his research into human expressions. [Public domain].

A genuine smile is a form of medicine. Image By: Edu Carvalho, pexels.com

His research coined the term ‘Duchenne smile’ – a smile still considered to be the most genuine of all. However, recent studies have shown that fake Duchenne smiles can go largely unnoticed to the untrained eye.

Typically, a Duchenne smile is characterised by a contraction of the ‘Zygomaticus‘ muscles, which raise the corners of your mouth, and the ‘Orbicularis oculi‘ which cause the eyes to crinkle; an effect better known as ‘crow’s feet’.

We know that the act of smiling can cause the brain to release feel-good chemicals which make us happy. Interestingly, recent research suggests even faking a Duchenne smile can make us feel happier.

So next time you have an essay due, can’t find a car park, or life is just getting you down, put a Duchenne smile on your dial. Even a fake one may help momentarily lift those sombre feelings.

Feature Image: Pablo Merchán Montes via Unsplash, no changes made.

Share:

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: