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May 20, 2008

The Most Curious Thing

Fascinating article in the NY Times by Errol Morris, The Most Curious Thing :

"In picture 2728 she is showing a social smile or a smile for the camera. The signs of an actual enjoyment smile are just not there. There’s no sign of any negative emotion. She’s doing what people always do when they pose for a camera. They put on a big, broad smile, but they’re not actually genuinely enjoying themselves. We would see movement in the eye cover fold. That’s the area of the skin below the eyebrow before the eyelid. And it moves slightly down only with genuine enjoyment. … In one of her pictures I get a chance to see her with no emotion on her face. That’s picture 4034. So I can see what the eye cover fold looks like when she’s not smiling. And it’s just the same as with the smile. That’s the crucial difference between what I call a Duchenne smile, the true smile of enjoyment, named after the French neurologist who first made this discovery in 1862, and the forced smile, the social smile."

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