Dectecting Lies In Smiles

Smiling is possible through the combined effort of two groups of muscles: the zygomatic muscles and the orbicularis oculi.

The zygomatic muscles are simply the muscles that are present on the side of the face. The orbicularis oculi on the other hand, is responsible for moving the area near the eyes. When activated, the orbicularis oculi pulls back the small area near the eyes as a person genuinely smiles at something.

When a person smiles sincerely and genuinely, his eyes and mouth smile together.

And here‟s the secret that separates fake smiles from real ones: the zygomatic muscles (the muscles responsible for controlling the mouth during a smile) are controlled consciously while the orbicularis oculi are not consciously controlled. You can‟t pull back your own eyes during a smile if it‟s not sincere.

Telling a Genuine From a Fake

People who routinely fake their smiles have to consciously move their mouths so a smile is produced.

However, the rest of the face will not follow suit because there is no real emotion or sentiment behind the smile. There is mental motivation, but if the emotion is not present, the brain will have no reason to send out the signals that will produce the desired smile.

The easiest indicator if a smile is genuine is to check the sides of the eyes. Are there small wrinkles there? If there are small, soft wrinkles near the eyes then the smile is genuine.

But don't be fooled – some people who habitually fake their smiles can also create wrinkles near the eyes, but only because their faces have been scrunched so tightly that the skin near the eyes have to fold slightly to accommodate the movement of the zygomatic muscles.

According to a code system developed by researchers from the University of California, a genuine smile has the following characteristics:

1. Mouth muscles are in a smiling orientation

2. Cheeks move up

3. Creases form near the eyes

4. Eyebrows move downward a notch

If all four traits are present in a smile then you can be a 100% sure that the other person is being sincere when he smiles at you. But if only the mouth is smiling and the rest of the face is stoic and unmoving, then the other person is probably faking it.

Sadly, not everyone is a master reader and not everyone can spot a genuine smile from a fake or insincere smile.

Most people would be happy that a stranger or colleague took the time to drop a small smile. We are so hardwired to accept smiling that we fail to become critical of this important facial expression.

As a body language reader, you need to learn how to analyze smiles as well. Smiles should also be "read" along with other gestures and expressions in a cluster and the context of the smile should also be taken into account.

Because smiling can easily defuse a tight or tension-filled situation, most people think that conscious smiling in some situations can mean that the other person might be deliberately doing it so he can get away with something.

An important issue arises: do people smile more when they are about to tell a lie?

Remarkably, research regarding this particular issue states that people tend to smile less when they are telling lies. People probably avoid smiling when they are saying something false because there is already a common belief that liars like to smile when they are about con or swindle someone.

This doesn't mean that pathological liars don’t use the smiling tactic. Here are some general "rules of thumb" when it comes to smiling liars:

  1. A liar would smile even before the lie is given. Smiles are almost spontaneous or automatic.
  2. A liar would hold his fake smile for a longer period compared to a genuine smile. A liar can choose to smile for minutes if he feels that it would help his deceptive cause.
  3. Since liars have to consciously smile to appear sincere to people, they have to exert extra effort to make their smiles look genuine. This extra effort usually results in a slightly lopsided smile.The smile becomes imbalanced because the left part of the face will be slightly more pronounced than the right side of the face.

    This is due to the fact that the part of the brain that controls smiling are located on the right side of the brain and this region sends out a stronger signal to the left side of the body.

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