Chapter 3 - Overview

Positive Emotions


  Duchenne Smile – full face smile including the eyes


   It's believed that some 50 different types of smiles exist, ranging from triumphant ones to those that convey bitterness.

   The first is an open smile "in which the lips are drawn back, the cheeks are raised and crows-feet wrinkles appear around the eyes." Technically this is called a Duchenne smile, which may be the truest and most intense of all.

   The second smile type is like the Duchenne, only minus the "smiley eyes." The third is a suppressed smile, "where the speaker is trying to hide their smile by pulling their lips in or down as they speak." Finally, they denoted times when the speakers weren't smiling at all.


   This was for a study in which people were told to answer all questions with "I do in the summer," no matter the question.

   Examples of questions included, "Do you ever sunbathe?" and, "Do you go skinny dipping?“

   So, naturally people started to smile at the strange answer to all questions.

   The audio for the interviews was then played back to another group of test subjects. Even without seeing the speakers, the listeners were able to hear the different types of smile


Harker and Keltner study: Year book photos as predictors of life satisfaction

114 high school yearbook photos between the years 1958 and 1960, rated for the Duchenne smile

The higher the rating the more marital and life satisfaction the women had many years later.


   Satisfaction in marriage and life was not related to physical attractiveness, but it was related to the extent of the Duchenne smile.

   Was there something in the Frame of the women with that special genuine smile that increased there sense of well-being?

   Were they just so pleasant to be around that they drew more positive people to themselves?

   But Ekman has also found out more about the Duchenne smile. It seems that in addition to the different facial muscles involved, a different area of the brain is activated: the left prefrontal cortex where positive emotions come from. And the connection between a smile and this part of the brain can work backwards as well: by putting on a true smile, you can activate this pleasure center and make yourself happy.

   It may sound too good to be true, and actually it is. A spontaneous smile activates more areas than a self-produced one - and so the two are not completely equivalent. There is no simple route to happiness - just a few clues to detect those who are faking it...

The Role of Positive Emotions


  People exposed to films which elicited anger, anxiety,  or other similar emotions were less likely to use global big picture problem solving strategies than those who were exposed to films with elicited positive feelings.

  Positive feelings led to:


The Role of Positive Emotions


   What do you think the reason is that these results have been observed?

Misconceptions About What Leads to Happiness

The Hedonic Treadmill

Happiness Equation

  H=S + C +V

  H is your overall happiness level over time

  S is your genetic setpoint for happiness, a baseline level of temperment

  C is your life circumstances, some controllable, some not

  V is your internal mind-set, the thoughts, attitudes, emotional, and behavioral factors you can control, Aspects of your FRAME!


   Positive Psychology is focused on altering the V factors to increase life satisfaction.

   Research indicates that S accounts for 50% of your happiness level, C accounts for 10%, and V accounts for 40%

   So we are working more with the V factor to influence our overall happiness within the limitations (potentials) of S and C.

How to Boost Your Happiness


   Pleasures tend to be short term satisfactions that fade when the stimulation ends

   Gratifications are activities that we find very fulfilling that we can “lose ourselves in” that are highly absorbing. Hobbies or any activity that enjoyably fills our attention.

   Bryant and Veroff recommend Savoring as a way to maximize pleasure in the present.

   It is the awareness of pleasure that comes from paying deliberate conscious attention to the experience of pleasure. People who savor and anticipate positive events are happier.

Other Experts Recommendations on Boosting Your Happiness


What Happened?

   The group that “acted” happy had increases in happiness compared to the control group and to a group that received partial information.


   In follow-up 9 to 25 months after the study the group that learned how to “act happy” remained much happier than either of the control groups.

Fake it till you Make It Redux

   Fordyce study:

   Levels of well- being could be increased if people learned to imitate the behaviors of happy people:

    Keeping busy

    Being well organized

    Spending more time socializing (acting like extraverts)

    Maintaining an optimistic outlook

    Developing a healthy perssonality