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Why Smile: The Science Behind Facial Expressions

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


“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.

From Publishers Weekly

May 16, 2011 – Smiles are "social acts with consequences," writes Yale social psychologist LaFrance. They also are "indispensable" to both physical and psychological well-being. LaFrance draws on a wide range of psychological and biological factors, as well as culture and literature, in order to delineate the many different kinds of smiles and how to recognize and react to them: the seductive smile, the sometimes manipulative smiles of politicians, and the ingratiating ones of salespeople. LaFrance is particularly interesting in discussing smiling and power: high-power people smile when they want to, low-power people when they have to. LaFrance also examines gender differences: women tend to smile and reciprocate smiles of others more than men but only when they're being observed by others. And she notes the cultural differences in how often people smile and what constitutes a smile in public. According to a study she cites, American college students look for smiles around the mouth, while their Japanese counterparts look around the eyes. While LaFrance occasionally digresses, her extensive research, clear and sometimes humorous writing, and interdisciplinary approach make this a very fine book for anyone who smiles (or doesn't).
Why Smile: The Science Behind Facial Expressions
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  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Psychology
  • Published: Aug 08, 2011
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Seller: W. W. Norton
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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