I have been creating, recreating and curating smiles for over twenty years, and often times I have to tell my patients “smile” in a playful tone. This is a way to determine the smile line and balance aesthetic zone, that should give way to a beautiful smile.
But do you know that a smile created by “Say Cheese” is a fake smile? Also called the “social smile” or the “botox smile” only raises the corners of the mouth, without raising the cheeks.
Now there’s genuine smile, and it has a name. It’s called the “Duchenne smile,” named after the French physician Guillaume Duchenne, who studied the physiology of facial expressions in the nineteenth century.
The Duchenne smile involves both voluntary and involuntary contraction from two muscles:
- zygomatic major that raises the corners of the mouth
- orbicularis oculi that raises the cheeks and producing crow’s feet around the eyes
This is interesting, but why is it so?
Scientists have discovered that these two types of smiles are actually controlled by two completely different parts of our brain.The “Say Cheese” smile is controlled by the motor cortex while the Duchenne smile, is controlled by the limbic system or the emotional center of the brain. Duchenne smile is associated with positive emotions, a smile of true enjoyment associated with crinkling around the eyes and raising of the cheeks.
So, what creates a genuine smile then?
One famous study found that women who received flowers always responded with a ‘real’ duchenne smile, and reported more positive moods three days later.
How could this all be working? Emotional processing occurs in a specific part of the brain, and the theory does provide an angle on positive emotions that we may consider in life and relationships.
Researchers also found that the Duchenne smile predicted positive outcome in marriage and well-being up to 30 years later. Who knew that something as simple as a flower could have all of these amazing beneficial effects on the human brain?
Science is now catching up with the Bible, proving what we have always known as true.
I am the rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys. Song of Solomon 2:1
Yesterday, I received a beautiful bouquet of pink carnation flowers, I really appreciate this and indeed.. I saw a reflection of myself showing a genuine smile, that Duchenne smile. With gratitude on my heart, I’m saying “Thank You!”