The Science of Smiling

In March, entrepreneur and health advocate Ron Gutman gave a fascinating TED talk, synthesizing a wealth of studies about smiling. Now, TEDBooks, one of our seven innovative platforms changing the future of publishing, is releasing Smile: The Astonishing Powers of a Simple Act -- a fantastic short Kindle book, in which Gutman expands on his popular talk to examine the last 200 years of science on smiling, facial mimicry, and mirror neurons, the tell-tell signs of fake smiles vs. authentic smiles (something that goes back to Darwin's photographic studies), and even how smiling affects our longevity.

Lots of smiling can actually make you healthier. Smiling can help reduce the level of stress-enhancing hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine; increase the level of mood-enhancing hormones like endorphin; and reduce overall blood pressure. --Ron Gutman

For a deeper exploration of the science of smiles, don't forget Marianne LaFrance's Lip Service: Smiles in Life, Death, Trust, Lies, Work, Memory, Sex, and Politics.

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This post also appears on Brain Pickings, an Atlantic partner site.

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Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings. She writes for Wired UK and GOOD, and is an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow.

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