Why Smile: The Science Behind Facial Expressions

Overview

“A charming, thoughtful book, one that makes a powerful case for smiles as ‘social acts with consequences.’ ”—Boston Sunday Globe
When someone smiles, the effects are often positive: a glum mood lifts; an apology is accepted; a deal is struck; a flirtation begins. But change the circumstances or the cast of a smile, and the terms shift: a rival grins to get under your skin; a bully’s smirk unsettles his mark. Marianne LaFrance, called the world’s expert on smiles, investigates the familiar grin and finds that it ...

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Why Smile: The Science Behind Facial Expressions

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Overview

“A charming, thoughtful book, one that makes a powerful case for smiles as ‘social acts with consequences.’ ”—Boston Sunday Globe
When someone smiles, the effects are often positive: a glum mood lifts; an apology is accepted; a deal is struck; a flirtation begins. But change the circumstances or the cast of a smile, and the terms shift: a rival grins to get under your skin; a bully’s smirk unsettles his mark. Marianne LaFrance, called the world’s expert on smiles, investigates the familiar grin and finds that it is not quite as simple as it first appears. LaFrance shows how the smile says much more than we realize—or care to admit: not just cheerful expressions, smiles are social acts with serious consequences.
Drawing on her research conducted at Yale University and Boston College as well as the latest studies in psychology, medicine, anthropology, biology, and computer science, LaFrance explores the compelling science behind the smile. Who shows more fake smiles, popular kids or unpopular kids? Is it good or bad when a bereaved person smiles? These are some of the questions answered in this groundbreaking and insightful work. To read it is to learn just how much the smile influences our lives and our relationships.

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Editorial Reviews

Scientific American
“LaFrance shows that there is much more to a pair of upturned lips than meets the eye.”
Wall Street Journal
“A masterly example of social sciences at its best—a look at how researchers do their work, what questions they ask, how answers lead to new questions, and why all of this matters in our everyday lives. . . . LaFrance’s true subject is not simply the smile but its uniquely human double purpose: to convey our feelings—and disguise them.”
The Oprah Magazine O
“Yale psychology professor Marianne LaFrance draws on the latest research—in fields from biology to anthropology to computer science—in an effort to shed some light on the happy face.”
Scientific American
LaFrance shows that there is much more to a pair of upturned lips than meets the eye.
Wall Street Journal
A masterly example of social sciences at its best—a look at how researchers do their work, what questions they ask, how answers lead to new questions, and why all of this matters in our everyday lives. . . . LaFrance’s true subject is not simply the smile but its uniquely human double purpose: to convey our feelings—and disguise them.
The Oprah Magazine O
Yale psychology professor Marianne LaFrance draws on the latest research—in fields from biology to anthropology to computer science—in an effort to shed some light on the happy face.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393344226
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/21/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 966,547
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Marianne LaFrance received her PhD from Boston University. She is now a professor at Yale University, and her research has been featured in media outlets such as NPR, the BBC, and the New York Times. She lives in Guilford, Connecticut.

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Table of Contents

introduction ix

Life

smile science 3

out of the mouths of babes 26

the indispensable smile 52

missing smiles, frozen smiles 76

Lies

two-faced smiles 103

smile politics 124

service with a smile 147

Loyalty

real men don't smile 167

smiles with a foreign accent 195

smile for the camera 218

exit smiling 239

acknowledgments 247

notes 249

references 289

index 323

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