Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 37–52 | Cite as

Movement Differences between Deliberate and Spontaneous Facial Expressions: Zygomaticus Major Action in Smiling

  • Karen L. Schmidt
  • Zara Ambadar
  • Jeffrey F. Cohn
  • L. Ian Reed
Brief Report


Previous research suggests differences in lip movement between deliberate and spontaneous facial expressions. We investigated within participant differences between deliberately posed and spontaneously occurring smiles during a directed facial action task. Using automated facial image analysis, we quantified lip corner movement during periods of visible Zygomaticus major activity. Onset and offset speed, amplitude of movement, and offset duration were greater in deliberate smiles. In contrast to previous results, however, lip corner movement asymmetry was not greater in deliberate smiles. Observed characteristics of deliberate and spontaneous smiling may be related to differences in the typical context and purpose of the facial signal.


emotion expression nonverbal communication voluntary movement 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen L. Schmidt
    • 1
  • Zara Ambadar
    • 1
  • Jeffrey F. Cohn
    • 1
    • 2
  • L. Ian Reed
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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