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Exploring Emotions

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Voluntary and involuntary expression

reflect

Can  you  fake a smile?

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In one of these pictures Paul Ekman is trying to simulate a real smile. In the other he is genuinely smiling. Can you tell which is which?

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In advertising fake smiles are used to make us desire something. We think the person — actually a model — is really enjoying the food or getting their wash cleaner than ever. The portrait photographer asks us to say “cheese” so we will smile, i.e., looking like we are smiling.

Generating emotion

Paul Ekman's research observed a close connection between facial expressions of emotions and changes in the body.

reflect
angry

Intentionally make a facial that expresses anger. Can you notice other changes to your physiology?

When you intentionally make a facial expression, you begin to have the changes in your physiology that accompany the emotion

The face, it turns out, is not simply a means of display, but also a means of activating emotion.

reflect

Do you think that simply consciously smiling can affect the brain and cause or influence happy behavior?

So you think that frowning affects the brain, stimulating activity associated with sadness.

Try smiling to make yourself feel better.