Why people smile even when frustrated

Why people smile even when frustrated

Ever wondered why some of your colleagues keep smiling even after being rebuked by the boss? Well, those untimely grins may be an indication of their frustration, says a new MIT study.

When people guess at how genuine a person’s smile is, or what emotion it’s portraying, we don’t know exactly what cues we’re responding to.

But, the new study found that timing has a lot to do with how people interpret expressions, said study researcher Ehsan Hoque, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.How quickly someone smiles can tell us what they actually mean by it, Hoque said.

“Getting the timing right is very crucial if you want to be perceived as sincere and genuine with your smiles,” Hoque was quoted as saying by LiveScience.

For their study, the researchers asked participants to act out, or fake, expressions of delight and frustration which were recorded by webcams.

Then the clips were compared with each other and with spontaneous expressions of real joy and frustration, looking for ways to distinguish between the varied emotional states.

When asked to fake frustration, 90 per cent of subjects didn’t smile. But when given with a task that caused genuine frustration — filling out a detailed online form, only to then find the information deleted after pressing the “submit” button - 90 per cent of them smiled, the researchers found.

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