Real or Fake? Things We Agree On
Credits: Media photo of Paula Deen for her book, "Southern Cooking Bible," written with Melissa Clark and published by Simon & Schuster, 2011.
The smile is the most complex and closely analyzed of all facial expressions. We can distinguish many types of smiles, perhaps dozens, and we have a very precise notion of which smiles represent true warmth and joy, and which do not.
This photograph of Paula Deen, a celebrity food purveyor, will strike most people as a fake smile. The most telltale indicator is the position of the lower lip. In a true smile, only the upper teeth are displayed, and only the zygomatic major (ZM) muscle is active, which pulls up the upper lip and widens it. Here Ms. Deen is using some of the muscles which drop and stretch the lower lip to supplement the simple ZM action, and the result is a grimace (both teeth showing, jaw closed), not a smile.
To make matters worse there is no tightening of the lower eye lid muscles, so there is no lower iris clipping, and less cheek bulging. Also, her smile is not wide enough side to side as Ms. Deen is not contracting her ZM hard enough. The result is a toothy face which shouts insincerity and false glee.