We explored the ability to produce deliberate Duchenne smiles and individual differences in this ability. Participants engaged in both a role-play task, designed to measure quasi-naturalistic usage of the deliberate Duchenne smile, and an imitation task, designed to measure muscular capability. In the role-plays, participants were instructed to smile while enacting scripted scenarios, three representing faked positive (masked negative) affect and three representing genuine positive affect. In the imitation task, they were given photographs of Duchenne and non-Duchenne smiles to imitate. Rates of Duchenne smiling provided further evidence that substantial minorities of people have the ability to produce a Duchenne smile deliberately. Individual differences were evident in the consistency in producing deliberate Duchenne smiles across tasks, and in the relationship between deliberate Duchenne smiling and self-reported ability to put on convincing (false) emotion displays in everyday life.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Smiles were only coded for the presence of AU 6 and AU 12. Other smile characteristics such as symmetry and duration were not included as part of our analyses. These characteristics do offer information that perceivers use to differentiate between posed and spontaneous smiles (Krumhuber and Kappas 2005; Gosselin et al. 2002). Not including this information could be seen as a limitation of the current study, but its exclusion is warranted because our interest was whether participants could produce deliberate Duchenne smiles that differed from non-Duchenne smiles, not deliberate Duchenne smiles that are the same as spontaneous Duchenne smiles.
Abel, M. H. (Ed.). (2002). An empirical reflection on the smile. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press.
Ansfield, M. E. (2007). Smiling when distressed: When a smile is a frown turned upside down. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33, 763–775.
Berenbaum, H., & Rotter, A. (1992). The relationship between spontaneous facial expressions of emotion and voluntary control of facial muscles. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 16, 179–190.
Bernstein, M. J., Young, S. G., Brown, C. M., Sacco, D. F., & Claypool, H. M. (2008). Adaptive responses to social exclusion: Social rejection improves detection of real and fake smiles. Psychological Science, 19, 981–983.
Carroll, J. M., & Russell, J. A. (1997). Facial expressions in Hollywood’s portrayal of emotion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 164–172.
Ekman, P., & Davidson, R. J. (1993). Voluntary smiling changes regional brain activity. Psychological Science, 4, 342–345.
Ekman, P., Davidson, R. J., & Friesen, W. V. (1990). The Duchenne smile: Emotional expression and brain physiology: II. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 342–353.
Ekman, P., & Friesen, W. V. (1976). Pictures of facial affect. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.
Ekman, P., & Friesen, W. V. (1982). Felt, false, and miserable smiles. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 6, 238–258.
Ekman, P., Friesen, W. V., & Hager, J. C. (2002). The facial action coding system (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City, UT: Research Nexus eBook.
Frank, M. G., & Ekman, P. (1993). Not all smiles are created equal: The differences between enjoyment and nonenjoyment smiles. Humor, 6, 9–26.
Frank, M. G., Ekman, P., & Friesen, W. V. (1993). Behavioral markers and recognizability of the smile of enjoyment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 83–93.
Gosselin, P., Kirouac, G., & Doré, F. Y. (1995). Components and recognition of facial expression in the communication of emotion by actors. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 83–96.
Gosselin, P., Perron, M., & Beaupré, M. (2010). The voluntary control of facial action units in adults. Emotion, 10, 266–271.
Gosselin, P., Perron, M., Legault, M., & Campanella, P. (2002). Children’s and adults’ knowledge of the distinction between enjoyment and nonenjoyment smiles. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 26, 83–108.
Hall, J. A. (1984). Nonverbal sex differences: Communication accuracy and expressive style. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Hecht, M. A., & LaFrance, M. (1998). License or obligation to smile: The effect of power and sex on amount and type of smiling. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24, 1332–1342.
Hess, U., & Bourgeois, P. (2010). You smile–I smile: Emotion expression in social interaction. Biological Psychology, 84, 514–520.
Keltner, D. (1995). Signs of appeasement: Evidence for the distinct displays of embarrassment, amusement, and shame. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 441–454.
Kring, A. M., & Gordon, A. H. (1998). Sex differences in emotion: Expression, experience, and physiology. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 686–703.
Krumhuber, E., & Kappas, A. (2005). Moving smiles: The role of dynamic components for the perception of the genuineness of smiles. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 29, 3–24.
Krumhuber, E. G., & Manstead, A. S. R. (2009). Can Duchenne smiles be feigned? New evidence on felt and false smiles. Emotion, 9, 807–820.
LaFrance, M., Hecht, M. A., & Levy Paluck, E. (2003). The contingent smile: A meta-analysis of gender differences in smiling. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 305–334.
Levenson, R. W., Ekman, P., & Friesen, W. V. (1990). Voluntary facial action generates emotion-specific autonomic nervous system activity. Psychophysiology, 27, 363–384.
Matsumoto, D., Keltner, D., Shiota, M. N., O’Sullivan, M., & Frank, M. (2008). Facial expressions of emotion. In M. Lewis, J. M. Haviland-Jones, & L. Feldman Barrett (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (3rd ed., pp. 211–234). New York: Guilford Press.
Mehu, M., Mortillaro, M., Bänziger, T., & Scherer, K. R. (2012). Reliable facial muscle activation enhances recognizability and credibility of emotional expression. Emotion, 12, 701–715.
Papa, A., & Bonanno, G. A. (2008). Smiling in the face of adversity: The interpersonal and intrapersonal functions of smiling. Emotion, 8, 1–12.
Schmidt, K. L., Ambadar, Z., Cohn, J. F., & Reed, L. I. (2006). Movement differences between deliberate and spontaneous facial expressions: Zygomaticus major action in smiling. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 30, 37–52.
Smith, M. C., Smith, M. K., & Ellgring, H. (1996). Spontaneous and posed facial expression in Parkinson’s Disease. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 2, 383–391.
Soussignan, R. (2002). Duchenne smile, emotional experience, and autonomic reactivity: A test of the facial feedback hypothesis. Emotion, 2, 52–74.
Surakka, V., & Hietanen, J. K. (1998). Facial and emotional reactions to Duchenne and non-Duchenne smiles. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 29, 23–33.
Woodzicka, J. A. (2008). Sex differences in self-awareness of smiling during a mock job interview. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 32, 109–121.
Zuckerman, M., Lipets, M. S., Koivumaki, J. H., & Rosenthal, R. (1975). Encoding and decoding nonverbal cues of emotion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 32, 1068–1076.
The authors thank Elizabeth Fierman and Nicole Betz for helping to conduct the studies; Talya Blatt for video editing; Sun Park for comments on a previous version of the manuscript; and Jukka Leppänen for supplying photographs of Duchenne and non-Duchenne smiles.
See Table 4.
About this article
Cite this article
Gunnery, S.D., Hall, J.A. & Ruben, M.A. The Deliberate Duchenne Smile: Individual Differences in Expressive Control. J Nonverbal Behav 37, 29–41 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10919-012-0139-4
- Deliberate Duchenne smiling
- Individual differences
- Expressive control