Dynamic properties of successful smiles

Nathaniel E. Helwig, Nick E. Sohre, Mark R. Ruprecht, Stephen J. Guy, Sofía Lyford-Pike

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Facial expression of emotion is a foundational aspect of social interaction and nonverbal communication. In this study, we use a computer-animated 3D facial tool to investigate how dynamic properties of a smile are perceived. We created smile animations where we systematically manipulated the smile's angle, extent, dental show, and dynamic symmetry. Then we asked a diverse sample of 802 participants to rate the smiles in terms of their effectiveness, genuineness, pleasantness, and perceived emotional intent. We define a "successful smile" as one that is rated effective, genuine, and pleasant in the colloquial sense of these words. We 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. These findings have broad applications in a variety of areas, such as facial reanimation surgery, rehabilitation, computer graphics, and psychology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0179708
JournalPloS one
Volume12
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by faculty start-up funds from the University of Minnesota (NEH, SJG, SL-P).

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