Real or fake: The guide to identifying real or fake smiles

Written by: 
Emmalee Smith

The following was written by a COMM 323 student for their final project.


You may think you can fake a smile pretty well, but psychology research has proven that you can’t fully fake a genuine smile. The two different smiles may look alike at times, but they involve different muscles from different parts of the brain. So unless you are are feeling genuine, happy feelings then you can’t sincerely smile.

According to Psychology Daily, a real smile, also named the Duchenne smile after a French physicist named, Guillaume Duchenne, who studied different facial expressions in the 1800s is quite different from a fake smile. It involves two muscle movements, both involuntary and voluntary. The two muscles used are called the zygomatic major and the orbicularis oculi.

Fake smiles involve voluntary movements from just the zygomatic major muscle. They don’t include the muscle surrounding the eye because that comes from involuntary movement due to happy emotions you feel while genuinely smiling.

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Date Published: 
Friday, June 16, 2017
Last Edited: 
Friday, June 16, 2017