Thursday, June 22, 2023

Biology of Smiling

 A smile can boost your emotional state because when you smile your brain releases neuropeptides that aid in fighting off stress. Also, neurotransmitters like dopamine, Serotonin and endorphins are also released which further leads to increased mood.


 It is mentioned in the text, “inhibiting facial reactions can dampen your reactions to emotional images” (Rosenblum, 2010, p. 191).  Meaning that when you restrain from facial reactions you actually bring your mood down.


In the book there was an experiment conducted, This experiment used a pen and it showed that when an individual held a pen between their teeth, their mouth was serendipitously put into a smile; so in return, the experimenters found that when they looked at the cartoons they were amused by versus when the individuals held the pen with their lips, their mouth was put into a frown and the experimenters found that the individuals found the cartoons less amusing.


  1. Aliyah,

    I enjoyed your post and I like how you included pictures and the Ted Talk.

    The Ted Talk was interesting when they used yearbook photos to measure their success.

  2. Hi,
    I liked how you mentioned that a smile can boost emotional states and how when you smile neurotransmitters are released increase mood. I have read many books and videos about depression, and one interesting tip was that smiling , even when you are not feeling happy, tricks your brain into feeling happy. I feel when I do use the smiling tip, I do feel a bit happier.

  3. Aliyah,
    Great Post! I think it is interesting that hiding or restraining emotion will actually cause to bring your mood down

  4. I never knew how much smiling actually changes your brain chemistry. It's sort of the chicken and the egg. Of course when we get a rush of dopamine, it causes us to smile, but it's interesting that smiling itself can also cause dopamine to release.

  5. Your insights into the effects of smiling on our emotional state are spot on! It's fascinating how something as simple as smiling can trigger a cascade of positive neurotransmitters and neuropeptides in the brain, contributing to an uplifted mood and reduced stress levels. The experiment you mentioned from the text further illustrates this connection between facial expressions and emotional responses.
    The experiment with the pen demonstrates the concept of facial feedback hypothesis, where changes in facial expressions can influence emotional experiences. When individuals held the pen between their teeth, which inadvertently mimicked a smile, they found the cartoons more amusing. Conversely, holding the pen with their lips, which mimicked a frown, dampened their amusement.
    This experiment underscores the bidirectional relationship between facial expressions and emotional states. It suggests that our facial muscles play a crucial role not only in expressing emotions but also in influencing how we perceive and react to stimuli. It's a compelling example of how our body's physical actions can impact our psychological experiences.
    Understanding these mechanisms can empower us to be more mindful of our facial expressions and their potential impact on our mood. It also highlights the importance of fostering positive emotions through simple actions like smiling, which can have profound effects on our overall well-being and interactions with others.