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You’ve got a killer smile…

A smile has been the advice so many things in our lives over the years: Win them over and always answer the phone with a smile in your voice. How to beat a complaining customer? Kill them with kindness and smile politely! When the going gets tough, just suck it up and smile. So, what is the perfect smile to get through it all? The answer might surprise you…

A team of researchers from the University of Minnesota - Nathaniel E. Helwig, Nick E. Sohre, Mark R. Ruprecht, Stephen J. Guy, Sofía Lyford-Pike – undertook an interesting research process where they used a copputer-animated 3D facial tool facial tool to investigate how dynamic properties of a smile are perceived. With this too a serios of smile animations where systemically manipulated to demonstrate different angels, amounts of teeth shown, and the dynamic symmetry to the face. A group of 802 research participants where then asked to rate the smiles in terms of their effectiveness, genuineness, pleasantness, and perceived emotional intent.

From the responses, it was found “that a successful smile can be expressed via a variety of different spatiotemporal trajectories, involving an intricate balance of mouth angle, smile extent, and dental show combined with dynamic symmetry.” [Dynamic Properties of Smiles. Helwig, et al. 2017]

The key points are that more of medium-low smile is viewed as a more successful and trusted person. So, show less teeth, but do show teeth; showing too much teeth might send messages that you do not wish to show such as fear or anxiety. “…we found that a successful smile consists of (i) an optimal window of mouth angle and smile extent, (ii) the correct amount of dental show for the given angle-extent combination, and (iii) dynamic symmetry such that the left and right sides of the mouth are temporally synced within 125mm.” [Dynamic Properties of Smiles. Helwig, et al. 2017]

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