Social psychologists are trying to understand the reason why a smile is so infectious, and they are coming up with some very interesting ideas.
Researchers have noted that when meeting someone face to face, our brains tell us to mimic their expressions, subconsciously, before even one second has elapsed. This rapid effect is limited in people who use botox, which freezes their facial muscles. It is also limited in babies who use pacifiers for extended periods of time because it lessens the development of the facial muscles. As a result, they were less able to judge other’s emotions, as they were unable to process them at the same subconscious rate as others.
Interestingly enough, this difference in young children seems to be more marked in boys than girls. Researchers have pointed to the fact that young girls are more aware of emotions and that they are spoken to more often than boys as the main reason.
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Why smiles and frowns are contagious