Smiling=Happiness?

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In an article by David Womack, he focuses on smiling. He mentions how at the artificial intelligence lab at MIT, researchers are engaged in understanding the relationship between facial expressions and emotional states for the purpose of creating advanced robot interfaces. Ironically, the fact that computers do not have to feel the emotions they display gives them a big advantage. Smiles are not all created equal. A true or zygomatic smile requires the contraction of special zygomaticus muscles in the face that are directly linked to the cerebral cortex. The close connection between these muscles and emotion means that a zygomatic smile is very difficult to fake. Humans are also very good at detecting false smiles. We can tell from a young age when people are "faking it." According to the facial feedback hypothesis, you're likely to feel emotions that correspond to your facial features. So if you are smiling, then you are more likely to feel happy. One finding that supports the facial feedback hypothesis is the cartoon study that we did for psych discussion. People were instructed watch cartoons holding a pencil in their mouths, either between their lips or between their teeth. People with the pencils in their lips were therefore prevented from smiling. It turned out that the people with the pencils in their teeth, who could smile, rated cartoons funnier than those who could not. Although there are studies such as this one that support the hypothesis, it's not certain that these effects work by means of facial feedback to the brain. This is a problem with ruling out rival hypotheses- these effects can be explained by other things, such as classical conditioning.
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How can the studies be explained through classical conditioning? Connect the facial feedback hypothesis to faking it. What do you think it means if "faking it" can change emotion? A picture would improve the post.

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This page contains a single entry by chav0084 published on November 5, 2011 3:23 PM.

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