Scientific article
Open access

The Perception and Mimicry of Facial Movements Predict Judgments of Smile Authenticity

Published inPloS one, vol. 9, no. 6, e99194
Publication date2014

The mechanisms through which people perceive different types of smiles and judge their authenticity remain unclear. Here, 19 different types of smiles were created based on the Facial Action Coding System (FACS), using highly controlled, dynamic avatar faces. Participants observed short videos of smiles while their facial mimicry was measured with electromyography (EMG) over four facial muscles. Smile authenticity was judged after each trial. Avatar attractiveness was judged once in response to each avatar's neutral face. Results suggest that, in contrast to most earlier work using static pictures as stimuli, participants relied less on the Duchenne marker (the presence of crow's feet wrinkles around the eyes) in their judgments of authenticity. Furthermore, mimicry of smiles occurred in the Zygomaticus Major, Orbicularis Oculi, and Corrugator muscles. Consistent with theories of embodied cognition, activity in these muscles predicted authenticity judgments, suggesting that facial mimicry influences the perception of smiles. However, no significant mediation effect of facial mimicry was found. Avatar attractiveness did not predict authenticity judgments or mimicry patterns.

Citation (ISO format)
KORB, Sebastian et al. The Perception and Mimicry of Facial Movements Predict Judgments of Smile Authenticity. In: PloS one, 2014, vol. 9, n° 6, p. e99194. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0099194
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1932-6203

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