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Say “cheeks” not “cheese” – the science of smiling

Wellcome Trust Blog

2407764432_beb7160ba3_zCan you fake a winning smile for a photograph? In his winning article Richard Stephenswon the 2014 Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize (professional scientists category) with this piece on smile research. Can a smile make you feel better? What’s the key to faking a smile convincingly, and why you should say “cheeks” not “cheese” when you pose for your next family photo. 

‘The curve that sets everything straight” was how comedian Phyllis Diller once described the smile. And it’s true that there’s something charming, trustworthy and disarming about a smile – but this can be misleading. Dig a little deeper and you will understand a much less wholesome side. Because, ladies and gentleman, the smile is one of the biggest fakes going.

I know what you’re thinking: we all pull a false smile now and again to appease our fellows and avoid unnecessary conflict. On the other hand, a genuine smile…

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