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Functional smiles: tools for love, sympathy, and war

Rychlowska, Magdalena, Rachael, Jack, Oliver, Garrod and Philippe, Schyns 2017. Functional smiles: tools for love, sympathy, and war. Psychological Science 28 (9) , pp. 1259-1270. 10.1177/0956797617706082

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The smile is the most frequent facial expression, but not all smiles are equal. A social functional account holds that smiles of reward, affiliation, and dominance resolve basic social tasks, including rewarding behavior, social bonding, and hierarchy negotiation. Here we explore facial expression patterns associated with the three smiles. We modeled the expressions using a data-driven approach and showed that reward smiles are symmetrical and accompanied by eyebrow raising, affiliative smiles involve lip pressing, and asymmetrical dominance smiles contain nose wrinkling and upper lip raising. A Bayesian classifier analysis and a detection task revealed that the three smile types are highly distinct facial expressions. Finally, social judgments made by a separate participant group showed that the different smile type models convey different social messages. Our results provide the first detailed description of the physical form and social messages conveyed by the three functional smiles, documenting the versatility of these facial expressions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: facial expressions, emotion, smile, reverse correlation, social perception
Publisher: Sage
ISSN: 1467-9280
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 May 2017
Date of Acceptance: 17 March 2017
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 09:11

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