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Old 11-08-2010, 04:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Can you spot the fake smile?

I came across an interesting little survey on Fark today. (It links to BBC Health.) The survey shows 20 quick videos of people smiling and then asks you to rate them as fake or genuine.

I went 12/20. How did you do?

BBC - Science & Nature - Human Body and Mind - Spot The Fake Smile
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Old 11-08-2010, 04:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Perfect score. I only recognize nonverbal cues that I've studied from charts and videos of facial expressions and what they mean so to me this is no different than an ordinary conversation.
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Old 11-08-2010, 04:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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13/20

6/10 - genuine
7/10 - fake

The explanation is interesting:

Quote:
Most people are surprisingly bad at spotting fake smiles. One possible explanation for this is that it may be easier for people to get along if they don't always know what others are really feeling.

Although fake smiles often look very similar to genuine smiles, they are actually slightly different, because they are brought about by different muscles, which are controlled by different parts of the brain.

Fake smiles can be performed at will, because the brain signals that create them come from the conscious part of the brain and prompt the zygomaticus major muscles in the cheeks to contract. These are the muscles that pull the corners of the mouth outwards.

Genuine smiles, on the other hand, are generated by the unconscious brain, so are automatic. When people feel pleasure, signals pass through the part of the brain that processes emotion. As well as making the mouth muscles move, the muscles that raise the cheeks – the orbicularis oculi and the pars orbitalis – also contract, making the eyes crease up, and the eyebrows dip slightly.

Lines around the eyes do sometimes appear in intense fake smiles, and the cheeks may bunch up, making it look as if the eyes are contracting and the smile is genuine. But there are a few key signs that distinguish these smiles from real ones. For example, when a smile is genuine, the eye cover fold - the fleshy part of the eye between the eyebrow and the eyelid - moves downwards and the end of the eyebrows dip slightly.

Scientists distinguish between genuine and fake smiles by using a coding system called the Facial Action Coding System (FACS), which was devised by Professor Paul Ekman of the University of California and Dr Wallace V. Friesen of the University of Kentucky.
Computers know our tells better than we do.


Shadow, where oh where can I go to learn how to read people that well?
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Old 11-08-2010, 05:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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15/20, I thought I did pretty good until I saw Shadow's score. I looked at the eyes the most to make my guess.
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Shadow, where oh where can I go to learn how to read people that well?
How do you learn to spot a spark plug that's off timing? How do you spot stitching that was done wrong? How do you tell from a dough's texture that it needs more flour or more water?

For most of my life speaking to someone in person was almost no different than an AIM conversation before I spent years carefully studying charts of facial expressions and their most common meanings so I would be able to at least guess at what someone might be trying to convey. To me nonverbal communication is purely mechanical, I see combinations of muscle movements coming together as a facial expression, match that to their words and the context of our interaction/relationship and then basically gamble on what I think is most likely. Except for the people I am extremely close to and have spent years with I really am just flat out guessing based on what's most commonly the emotional state and intent associated with given expressions.

P.s. You had it right though, look at the eyes. Never pay attention to someone's mouth, always look at the areas surrounding the nose and eyes. Most involuntary facial expressions other than lip-twitches will happen there.
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I'm imagining crazed dwarves doing profoundly weird things. Urist McNutcase has developed a compulsion to jam anything colored blue up his anus, or alternately other peoples anuses
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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17/20--the ones I missed were ones I had some technical difficulties with.

Shadow is right--look at the eyes.
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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13/20 Most of the ones I missed were the women, what does that say about me as a woman that I can't even spot when my own gender is being deceitful!
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
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15/20. Not too bad, I guess.
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:36 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I started taking this and then stopped about 3 or 4 in. What do they mean by 'genuine' and 'fake'? Do they mean the person is pretending to be happy? Do they mean they are pretending to smile? The categories are essentially useless. They almost all look awkward, in the sense that it's a staged smile - in that sense, they're all 'fake', because none of them was done candidly or as a result of actually being happy or something actually being funny. So in that sense, they're all fake, so I can't really see how I'm supposed to see anything but 20 fake smiles. Terrible 'study'.

If you're unable to look past the fact that they all look pressured and most are forcing themselves to laugh to even get a smile on their face for the brief few seconds of the video, then you're missing a vast majority of their emotion. They're ALL faking, some are just better at faking realistically. A few made it look like they weren't actually being forced to mug for the camera, so they're better actors.. but they're all still fake smiles.

---------- Post added at 08:36 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:31 AM ----------

Completed it, and the end even admits:

Quote:
Genuine smiles, on the other hand, are generated by the unconscious brain, so are automatic. When people feel pleasure, signals pass through the part of the brain that processes emotion. As well as making the mouth muscles move, the muscles that raise the cheeks – the orbicularis oculi and the pars orbitalis – also contract, making the eyes crease up, and the eyebrows dip slightly.
.... see that part about 'automatic' ? None of these are 'automatic' because they're all staged in front of a camera. They're all fake!
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Last edited by Jinn; 11-09-2010 at 06:34 AM..
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Old 11-09-2010, 07:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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My thoughts exactly, Jinn.
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Old 11-09-2010, 05:49 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinn View Post
I started taking this and then stopped about 3 or 4 in. What do they mean by 'genuine' and 'fake'? Do they mean the person is pretending to be happy? Do they mean they are pretending to smile? The categories are essentially useless. They almost all look awkward, in the sense that it's a staged smile - in that sense, they're all 'fake', because none of them was done candidly or as a result of actually being happy or something actually being funny. So in that sense, they're all fake, so I can't really see how I'm supposed to see anything but 20 fake smiles. Terrible 'study'.

If you're unable to look past the fact that they all look pressured and most are forcing themselves to laugh to even get a smile on their face for the brief few seconds of the video, then you're missing a vast majority of their emotion. They're ALL faking, some are just better at faking realistically. A few made it look like they weren't actually being forced to mug for the camera, so they're better actors.. but they're all still fake smiles.

---------- Post added at 08:36 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:31 AM ----------

Completed it, and the end even admits:



.... see that part about 'automatic' ? None of these are 'automatic' because they're all staged in front of a camera. They're all fake!
You don't know that it's forced and I'm not sure why you're assuming it is. For certain it is on the 'fake' smiles, but is it really that hard to get video of someone actually smiling in a lab setting? You don't have to be that creative to come up with a way to accomplish that task.
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:34 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowy View Post
17/20--the ones I missed were ones I had some technical difficulties with.

Shadow is right--look at the eyes.
Exact same here.
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:34 AM   #13 (permalink)
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17/20 . The three I got wrong were hunches. You can see the laugh in their eyes. If there is no movement they are just faking it.
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Old 11-10-2010, 01:30 PM   #14 (permalink)
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15/20 - It's all about the eyes.
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:37 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaLa1 View Post
13/20 Most of the ones I missed were the women, what does that say about me as a woman that I can't even spot when my own gender is being deceitful!
It might not sat very much, given that this is a very small sample size. It is plausible that the 7 that you missed were mostly women just by chance.
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:47 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hektore View Post
You don't know that it's forced and I'm not sure why you're assuming it is. For certain it is on the 'fake' smiles, but is it really that hard to get video of someone actually smiling in a lab setting? You don't have to be that creative to come up with a way to accomplish that task.
I think so. "Real" smiles require candid behavior. I think you could capture it if it were a bunch of people sitting around a table telling jokes and you had a hidden camera watching them. But from the positioning of the people and the cameras in this its pretty apparent that they put a camera right in their face and did something "funny" or just asked them to smile. It's still not "candid", even if it was just a slideshow of lolcats and the only smiled when they saw one that truly amused them. They're still aware of the pretense of a keen observer. Even if it's not a camera, someone sitting 5 feet from you watching your facial expression intensely changes how you manifest your feelings.

People change dramatically when they *know* a camera is around, and there's a huge difference between candid photos and staged photos.
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Old 11-12-2010, 08:09 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinn View Post
I think so. "Real" smiles require candid behavior. I think you could capture it if it were a bunch of people sitting around a table telling jokes and you had a hidden camera watching them. But from the positioning of the people and the cameras in this its pretty apparent that they put a camera right in their face and did something "funny" or just asked them to smile. It's still not "candid", even if it was just a slideshow of lolcats and the only smiled when they saw one that truly amused them. They're still aware of the pretense of a keen observer. Even if it's not a camera, someone sitting 5 feet from you watching your facial expression intensely changes how you manifest your feelings.

People change dramatically when they *know* a camera is around, and there's a huge difference between candid photos and staged photos.
I reject your assertion that a person is incapable of being candid in front of a camera and that by extension they cannot produce a 'real' smile in front of a camera.

Also,
Quote:
Genuine smiles, on the other hand, are generated by the unconscious brain, so are automatic.
Your assertion also contradicts this statement here, if 'real' smiles are 'automatic' the presence or absence of the camera is irrelevant.
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