You've likely been told (or read in a forwarded e-mail) that it takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown, and that, in light of this fact, you should smile more often. There are quite a few numbers that get tossed around when this line is used. Some claim it takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile, but open Aunt Milda's chain letter and you might be surprised to learn it takes 26 to smile and 62 to frown. And some naysayers claim it's quite the opposite, that in fact it takes more muscles to smile than to frown.
When we make facial expressions, we're essentially transmitting a packet of information that can be received, read and interpreted by others. By contracting or expanding our facial muscles in different degrees and combinations, we can produce thousands of different messages that provide cues to our overall emotional state, our short-term feelings about our immediate environment, our mental well-being, our personality and mood, our physical health, our creditability and whether or not we view others as being creditable.
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