The neuroscience of smiling, golf clubs, doctors' lab coats, women's makeup, and more.

Still More Astounding Facts About Mental Behavior

Fake Grinning Makes You More Cheerful

three different poses of a person with a chopstick in her mouth to simulate a smile

Forcing a grin has been found to reduce heart rate and to heighten mood. Chopsticks were used to induce an artificial smile in three groups of subjects. The fake smiles were described as neutral (first image), standard (second image), or Duchenne (third image). All three groups endured stress better than the control groups. The most successful group had assumed the Duchenne smile (third image) which is more realistic than the other fakes because it entails a wrinking effect around the the eyes — more closely resembling a real smile. (The research is here.)

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People who believed that they were wearing doctors’ lab coats performed better on tests of attention and focus.

woman in a lab coat

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People can improve their golf game when they use a club they think belonged to a professional golfer.

golfer swinging a club



When people talk about the future, they tend to lean forward.

girl leaning forward

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a face's cold stare

A cold stare can make you crave heat.

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Women who wear makeup are perceived as more competent than those who wear scant or no facial cosmetics.


woman applying makeup


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Astounding Facts, Part 1