The Psychology of Smiling

An emerging field of study known as “positive psychology” or “happiness research” offers new insight into human emotions – more specifically, the act of smiling. Many people hide their smiles because they don’t like their appearance. As a cosmetic dentist, Dr. Fondriest builds beautiful smiles that convey a positive image.

Do you know what’s in a smile? Find out by taking this quiz.

Q1) True or False: Babies are born knowing how to smile.

Q2) True or False: Only a genuine smile makes us feel happier.

Q3) True or False: A smile conveys only happiness.

Q4) True or False: Researchers have observed babies as young as 10 months faking a smile.

Q5) True or False: We smile because it makes us more attractive to others.

Answers: The Psychology of Smiling

Q1) True. Researchers say the motor skills necessary to form a smile are inborn. Further, we are all capable of two distinct types of smiles, one genuine and the other forced. Each employs a slightly different use of our facial muscles. It is not difficult to tell a genuine, happy smile from the forced variety we might use when having a picture taken.

Q2) False. According to research, whether genuine or fake, it is the act of smiling that makes us feel happier. However, as logic would have it, a genuine smile has a greater positive effect on our emotions than a forced smile. Another benefit: Smiling has a contagious effect on others and promotes positive, pro-social behaviors and interactions.

Q3) False. A smile can convey a multitude of emotions. For instance, if you are amused, you will usually smile an open-mouthed smile. If you feel pride, your expression will likely be a lips-compressed grin. You may even smile to mask other emotions, such as grief, shock, or embarrassment.

Q4) True. Research shows that newborns, just like adults, will dispense smiles based on their emotions. At only 10 months, an infant may offer a false smile to an approaching stranger while reserving a genuine smile for its mother.

Q5) True. An abundance of anecdotal evidence and volumes of scientific research prove that we smile to be more attractive to others. A beautiful, healthy smile is an essential component of wellness. Our smile reveals who we are and the life we’re living. We offer our smile to others – it communicates in every language and invites people to trust, to care, to work for and with us.

Your cosmetic dentist can assist you with your dental goals and give you the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted. Schedule an appointment by calling (847)234-0517.