Research Blog 5

“The Hidden Power of Smiling”

The above link directs you to a Ted talk given by Ron Gutman in March of 2011 on the effects of smiling on the human brain. Gutman is a well known entrepreneur who graduated from Stanford and has carried out lots of research in personalized health and to design ways to help people live healthier, happier lives. He presents us with the idea of babies and how it has been proven that “we are born smiling” “even in the womb”. It has also been linked that smiling can be connected with living longer.

Gutman goes on to talk about how Charles Darwin has developed a theory based on the facial feedback response theory. “His theory states that the act of smiling itself actually makes us feel better, rather than smiling being merely a result of feeling good.” This talk ties in with my previous research and again like most of my sources, connects with Amy Cuddy’s Ted talk with the idea that you can actually “fake it till you make it”. It has been proven that smiling can stimulate the same parts of the brain that chocolate does, meaning that our mood is lightened and we feel happier overall. More importantly, not only does smiling effect you on the outside, “smiling can help reduce the level of stress-enhancing hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine, increase the level of mood-enhancing hormones like endorphins, and reduce overall blood pressure.”

During his talk, Gutman, constantly refers to numerous studies that have been carried out in the past. His ideas are based off these previous studies and help back up his argument about the importance of smiling. Towards the end of this talk he talks about the effects that smiling can have in terms of how other people view you. It raises the question with me about how important is body language/body image when it comes to attracting people of the opposite sex. What I have struggled to find so far is how people can be attracted/un attracted to people with positive/negative body language.

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