The Scientific Way to Identify a Fake Smile: The Duchenne Smile Test

Dicle Temiz

Dicle Temiz

Editör - Bilgi Unv.

Smiling is perhaps one of the best ways to communicate. We get the same feedback by smiling at dozens of people on the street, at school, at work, at the market. So, can we tell if these smiles are real or fake? Our answer is yes, thanks to the Duchenne smile test.




When you look at the photo below, we see two different smiles of the same man, and they both have their lips curved upwards. However…

We see her two different smiles, both with her lips curved upwards. However, if one of them is real, it is a fake smile. Duchenne argues that fake smiles can be distinguished by revealing that real smiles also move the eye muscles as a result of his studies. We don’t know if the expression “laughing with your eyes” comes from here, but for a scientifically real and sincere smile, it’s not enough to just play the cheek muscles. That is, we see a real smile in the picture on the right, and a fake smile on the left.




A more fake smile appears when taking a headshot because we do not move our eye muscles.

At the same time, two different smiles are controlled in different parts of the brain. That is, while the fake smile is controlled only by the muscles, the area where the emotions are activated is also activated during the real smile.




Among the smiles we see in daily life, many of them can be fake.

This fake smile, also called the Pan American smile, is not associated with positive emotions in the person, especially since the Pan-American Airline stewardesses always travel with an artificial smile. Now, by looking more carefully at the face of the person in front of you, you can understand whether it is a real smile or a fake.

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