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What's behind the smile?

  • John J. Ohala (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 20 December 2010

Many species' non-threat facial expression involves an open mouth and retracted lip corners – the smile. This served to make an accompanying vocalization sound like it originated from a smaller vocalizer. That such signals are deceptive and benefit primarily the signaler undermines the notion that the perception of the smile employs embodied simulation of the smiler's state.

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R. J. Andrew (1963) The origin and evolution of the calls and facial expressions of the primates. Behaviour 20:1109.

N. Bolwig (1964) Facial expressions in primates with remarks on a parallel development in certain carnivores (A preliminary report on work in progress). Behaviour 22:167–92.

J. J. Campos , D. Mumme , R. Kermoian & R. G. Campos (1994) A functionalist perspective on the nature of emotion. The Japanese Journal of Research on Emotions 2(1):120.

C. Darwin (1872) The expression of the emotions in man and animals. John Murray.

E. W. Morton (1977) On the occurrence and significance of motivation-structural rules in some bird and mammal sounds. American Naturalist 111:855–69.

J. J. Ohala (1984) An ethological perspective on common cross-language utilization of F0 of voice. Phonetica 41:116.

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Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
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