About Smile


Smile is the easiest way to say Hi. Most conversation begins with smile. All smiles are universal. But if we look deeper, smiles are not the same. How people smile? Is it conscious or unconscious? How can you smile like that?

In 2008, three researchers including Jeffrey F. Cohn published a paper about smile. He said all smiles are not created equal. Morphology and timing of smiles perceived as amused, polite and embarrassed/nervous.

It’s easy to find out the kind of smile. You can spot the difference of smile by each muscular part of face and how the part moves.


1. Amused Smile

Amused smile is a genuine smile. This kind of smile release your pleasure feeling. You can’t control your amused smile. Those genuine smiles are generated by unconscious brain. When you feel pleasure, brain gives signals that processes emotion. The mouth muscles move and raise the cheeks unconsciously.  The muscles around the eyes are also move and making the eyes crease up.

Characteristics of amused smile:

  • reaction: fast
  • mouth: opened
  • eyes: crease up
  • duration: long
  • symmetry: yes

2. Polite Smile

Most people spot polite smile as fake smile. It comes from your conscious part of brain. The muscles in your cheeks pull the corners of the mouth outwards.

There are many different purpose of polite smile. It can convey sympathy or up the attractiveness. The polite smile can also show “I’m listening” smile,  “I’m taking picture” smile or half-smile that seem to say “I’ve no idea what you’re talking about“.

Characteristics of polite smile:

  • reaction: delayed
  • mouth: closed/ almost closed
  • eyes: plain
  • duration: short
  • symmetry: probably yes

3. Embarrassed/ Nervous Smile

Embarrassed smile is also a genuine smile but you have half control of your face muscles. The unconscious brain release the genuine smile but you defend it with your conscious brain.

This kind of smile is quite complex. It can be a “trying not to smile” or “almost smile“. But most of the nervous smile may comes from guilty feeling. A bad liar always have nervous smile.

Characteristics of embarrassed smile:

  • reaction: fast
  • mouth: opened
  • eyes: almost plain
  • duration: short
  • symmetry: probably no

Let all of your feeling out and you’ll get amused smile. If you don’t, just give your perfect polite smile.