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10 November 2009

Smiles: real or fake? Watch 20 short video clips in this quiz and spot the real smiles. [More:]I did a lot better than I expected on this: 17 out of 20 correct.
Hey, I got 17 out of 20 too.

Most of the fake ones seemed to keep looking straight at the camera, and didn't move their heads much. Most of the genuine ones looked to the side briefly, and seemed to be chuckling more than just smiling. I'm guessing this is because they were creating 'genuine' laughs by showing them something funny, thus provoking a laugh rather than just a smile, and causing them to look away from the camera to see the stimulus.
posted by chrismear 10 November | 11:20
I had a problem with this. I think I'm really good at reading body language, and even better at determining when someone is being phony, but I can't wrap my head around this. ALL the smiles are fake -- they're smiling on cue, then wiping the smiles off their faces on cue. So what are we judging -- if that's how they'd actually smile if they had something genuine to smile about?

After about #4, I started getting too analytical about it and couldn't see anything but people doing what they were told, so I only got 12 of 20. If it were real-world, though, I would have done much better.
posted by mudpuppie 10 November | 11:27
I agree, mudpuppie, this isn't an authentically natural test.

In the experimenter's sense, not all the smiles are fake: I reckon they made the so-called genuine smiles by showing them something funny, whereas they made the fake smiles by just asking them to smile.

And that's probably the best you can do if you're trying to make a set of video clips like this for an artificial test. But since the entire setup as a whole is artificial (for the test-taker as well as the people in the video), even a smile that's initiated by seeing something funny is going to have a veneer of artificiality. In that larger sense, all of the smiles have a fakeness about them, as you say.

So it becomes more a test of spotting that difference in setup within this particular experiment, rather than a genuine test of how well you can spot a genuine smile.
posted by chrismear 10 November | 11:37
Hmm -- 17 out of 20 here, too. I knew there was something in the eye area that was usually a tipoff to a fake. Some of the fakes were really bad, with very little changing around the eye at all, but others, while crinkly, looked fake, like someone lifting a curtain up in bunches, then dropping it again. The explanation at the end made sense to me.

But there are a few key signs that distinguish these smiles from real ones. For example, when a smile is genuine, the eye cover fold - the fleshy part of the eye between the eyebrow and the eyelid - moves downwards and the end of the eyebrows dip slightly.
posted by maudlin 10 November | 15:40
17/20 this time. I took it once before and got 19/20.
posted by deborah 10 November | 16:46
ALL the smiles are fake -- they're smiling on cue, then wiping the smiles off their faces on cue. So what are we judging -- if that's how they'd actually smile if they had something genuine to smile about?
Yeah, I had the same problem - all the smiles looked fake to me (or at lest forced, which amounts to the same thing). I only got 13/20.
posted by dg 10 November | 16:56
Occasionally, when I'm in a bad mood and fed up with it, I'll throw the biggest fake smile I have on my face and hold it there 'til it isn't fake any more.
posted by aniola 11 November | 00:24
I started looking more at their post-smile expression more than their actual smile. How fast and how completely the smile disappeared made me decide whether it was fake or not.

But, what do I know?

I only got 13 out of 20.
posted by marsha56 11 November | 23:00
Here, we will take you seriously || Tuesday three-point status update: