Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Smiles: Fake? And can you tell?

Poker faces often have "tells;" so do smiles.

Spot The Fake Smile
(be sure to click the button to watch the smile.)

This experiment is designed to test whether you can spot the difference between a fake smile and a real one. It has 20 questions and should take you 10 minutes. It is based on research by Professor Paul Ekman, a psychologist at the University of California. Each video clip will take approximately 15 seconds to load on a 56k modem and you can only play each smile once.

In case you are wondering, they did it by taking real smiles that occurred spontaneously in interviews, or by telling the person to smile. Obviously you can't say, "Give us a genuine smile, now!"

Bizarrely, I got 18 out of 20 correct. Had a bit of luck, I expect. But that's better classification than I would have expected. Only missed two, one F that was a G, and one G that was an F.

How do YOU fare?

(Nod to the Blonde, who never fakes it)


Anonymous said...

Mrs. Angus here--I got a 19 out of 20. The one I missed was a case where I switched my answer at the last second from fake to genuine. should have stuck with my gut. Some were really easy but others were not so obvious--surprised that I scored so high.

John Covil said...

16 of 20. One I had to guess on because the video didn't play and I couldn't watch it again.

I think having watched Lie to Me helped.

Mungowitz said...

I have a prediction: women are better at this, in terms of central tendency.

The stakes are higher, and women have had more people lie to them.

John Covil said...

I would ask my wife to try for some anecdotal evidence, but I'm not sure I want to help hone her skill in this area...

Simon Spero said...

The results are somewhat surprising given that the mean decoding accuracy for untrained observers measured in Frank, Ekman, and Friesen (1993) was 56% for single views of the subject (but 71% where both enjoyment and non-enjoyment smiles were paired).

The paper is one of several on enjoyment and non-enjoyment smiles in Ekman and Rosenberg (2005).


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.

Collected in Ekman, P. & Rosenberg, E. (eds.) (2005). What the face reveals: Basic and Applied Studies of Spontaneous Expression Using the Facial Action Coding System (FACS). 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

lowcountryjoe said...

17 of 20. There's a real odd looking guy that had what I thought too much of a smile going on even though it seemed real. In the end, I guessed that he was faking it when he really was not.