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.

TEMPLATEBrainPickings04.jpg

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

Presented by

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

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Health

Just In