I can see for smiles and smiles
February 8, 2004 1:54 AM   Subscribe

Spot the fake smiles. Can you tell the difference between a fake smile and a real smile?
posted by seanyboy (43 comments total)
17/20 - not bad.
posted by seanyboy at 1:54 AM on February 8, 2004

Number 13 is a vampire, right?
posted by spazzm at 2:16 AM on February 8, 2004

Most people are surprisingly bad at spotting fake smiles. One possible explanation for this is that it may be easier for people to get along if they don't always know what others are really feeling

19/20 - so this is why I don't get along with other people?
posted by ikalliom at 2:24 AM on February 8, 2004

damn, i only got 12. maybe that stripper didn't really like me...
posted by joedan at 2:54 AM on February 8, 2004

17/20. Watch those laughlines.
posted by condour75 at 3:50 AM on February 8, 2004

14/20. The next question: Did you mistake more fake for genuine, or genuine as fake? My mistakes were equal in both directions.
posted by Goofyy at 4:46 AM on February 8, 2004

16, thought some of the genuines were easier to spot as they often look away rather than directly into camera. Tended to fail on genuines who stared at you, and like condour didn't show any crinkling around the eyes either.
posted by biffa at 5:13 AM on February 8, 2004


I'm just a sensitive guy...
posted by armoured-ant at 5:22 AM on February 8, 2004


Maybe I'm not so bad at judging people as fakes.
posted by Busithoth at 5:36 AM on February 8, 2004


The #13 Vampire tricked me. (But, that's one of their abilities..)
posted by dirt at 5:41 AM on February 8, 2004

I suck. I got 9/10. By far, I did better on the genuine ones -- I tended to think everyone was genuine. I didn't assume there were 10 of each kind, but I was starting to wonder why I picked so many genuines, but I honestly couldn't tell most of the fakes. Apparently I do have some problems with this.

I was irritated that the page says "Most people are surprisingly bad" but doesn't tell us what the average score is.
posted by litlnemo at 5:46 AM on February 8, 2004

Oops, that's 9/20 not 9/10. I scored worse than random chance. :(
posted by litlnemo at 5:48 AM on February 8, 2004

Definitely a vampire.
posted by emelenjr at 5:59 AM on February 8, 2004

12/20. But I knew I'd suck. I found the expression before the smile very hard to overcome- the happier they'd look at the start of the clip, the more genuine they'd appear to me. I also found myself trying to keep the balance at 50% fake.
posted by bendybendy at 7:20 AM on February 8, 2004

17/20...on viewing the ones I got wrong a second time, I would change two of my votes, but the other one STILL looks fake to me.
posted by rushmc at 7:31 AM on February 8, 2004

I got 19/20...but, I was a bartender for a very long time...and I'd put my ability to know what people are thinking and feeling up against almost any psychologist. ;)

And yes, 13 was just freaking spooky.
posted by dejah420 at 7:39 AM on February 8, 2004

11/20. I'm still trying to figure out if #13 was a man or a woman.
posted by Frank Grimes at 8:06 AM on February 8, 2004

20/20. I guess I do have at least one people skill, after all.
posted by paisley at 8:27 AM on February 8, 2004

14/20. Part of me was stuck on this notion that all of them were fake. I mean, let's be real here. There in some stuffy lab, getting paid $5 to laugh at some stodgy scientist's bad jokes.

"Okay Mr. Scientist and his ass-kissing assistant, here's a real smile for you, can I go now?"
posted by Fofer at 8:38 AM on February 8, 2004

If you "fake a smile" by thinking about something that makes you happy, is it really fake?
posted by kindall at 8:52 AM on February 8, 2004

I aced it, though I actually took a couple of classes back in my neuroscience undergrad days that covered FACS (the system this study used to differentiate between real and fake).

Interestingly, FACS can be gamed. With a bit of practice, several of us learned to fake smile well enough that we'd qualify as the real thing. Should you wish to do the same:

1. Try a convincing fake smile in front of the mirror. Yep, no crows-feet crinkle, eyebrow dip or eyelid thickening.

2. Now try convincing fake laughter, actually haha-ing out loud. Odds are, the smile you produce as part of the laugh looks remarkably real.

3. On to the practice part. Over time, try and reduce how much you have to laugh to get that real-looking fake smile. Eventually, you can get to the point where just a forceful exhale (the very first part of a laugh) is enough to push your fake smile into apparently genuine territory. Keep the exhale small and quiet enough and you can muster up fake smiles that pass the FACS check at will.

You'd all best work on it before the next MeFi meetup. Otherwise, armed with new knowledge from this FPP, people will quickly realize how dull you think they all are.
posted by thomascrown at 8:58 AM on February 8, 2004


only becuase the site totally freaked me out. it has to be single scariest thing i've ever seen. al those dead eyes and bad teeth...
posted by hnnrs at 9:01 AM on February 8, 2004

They all had such bad teeth.. people in Britain don't really have bad teeth, honest. Oh, and 15/20 - and I immediately thought the same as ikalliom
posted by ascullion at 9:21 AM on February 8, 2004

14/20. I just watched the eyes mostly, but as the blurb at the end said, that doesn't always work.

God, the teeth, THE TEETH!
posted by qDot at 10:42 AM on February 8, 2004

18/20. The two I got wrong I guessed fake when genuine was correct. Suspicious of my fellow humans, I guess.
posted by deborah at 10:49 AM on February 8, 2004

13/20 . Not to promote stereotypes, but did some of those videos remind anyone else of The Big Book of British Smiles from the Simpsons?
posted by trigfunctions at 10:52 AM on February 8, 2004

Finally reaffirming my suspicions that those pasty-faced island-Nazis are up to "something".
posted by sharksandwich at 11:02 AM on February 8, 2004

Hm. Fake smiles. Why does everything on MeFi right now remind me of my ex-girlfriend?

(Because I'm bitter and obsessed, that's why. PS: 10/20, 'splains a lot)
posted by Skwirl at 11:04 AM on February 8, 2004

16/20. Three of my four errors were on fakes, so I guess I err on the side of trusting.
posted by Aaorn at 11:38 AM on February 8, 2004

posted by abcde at 11:41 AM on February 8, 2004

18/20 - what worries me is that I put that I was vaguely optimistic, in general. But the two I got wrong were genuine smiles that I decided were dastardly fakers! What kind of cynic am I? I console myself with the fact that they had funny shaped faces that meant that their eye folds didn't move like the other people's.
posted by wilberforce at 11:56 AM on February 8, 2004

Thank you thomascrown - that brought a smile to my face!
posted by FidelDonson at 12:01 PM on February 8, 2004

I got 18/20. I've always watched for the eyes and a combination of the body movement and breathing... Guess it works for me most of the time!
posted by Jade Dragon at 6:30 PM on February 8, 2004

Malcolm Gladwell of the New Yorker wrote a nice piece on the FACS system and Ekman in particular. Pretty long but it's a good read.
posted by spatula at 6:49 PM on February 8, 2004

Due the set-up questions, I thought the quiz was really about whether you're an optimist or pessimist! I "realized" this about half-way through and thought maybe they were all genuine. So I resisted the "fake" temptation from then on.

Not good for my optimism level...
posted by micropublishery at 8:40 PM on February 8, 2004

14/20, and I had equal distribution of fake/real misses.

ON a side note, those are quite simply some of the ugliest people I have ever seen.

I *strongly* suspect the researchers purposefully chose less attractive people so that their looks did not influence the results.

I've always considered myself stunningly average looking. Compared to those blokes I'm practically a god.

P.S. #13 is a woman. A frightening woman, but a woman none-the-less.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:23 PM on February 8, 2004

Holy crap. Number 15 is an old flatmate of mine.

Hi Dan!

I only got 14/20. I did get the vampire guy right though.
posted by davehat at 2:23 AM on February 9, 2004

We need more places where you can get smiled at 20 times in less than five minutes.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:30 PM on February 9, 2004

17/20 Not bad. This was a great site. The ones I missed were all genuine smiles which I thought were fake. Guess I'm quick to think people are just faking laughing at my jokes and just made that assumption here too.
posted by Spencerinc at 4:40 PM on February 9, 2004

18/20. The two I got wrong were fakes that fooled me. I'd rather be faked out than think a genuine smile was false....
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:47 PM on February 9, 2004

....trailing post;


I had a bad start. But man, after looking at those people, I couldn't help but laugh, I thought it was a joke. WHICH made me think more about fake a real smiles. (those cats just weren't even average looking. Oh, wait, bbc).
posted by tomplus2 at 9:18 PM on February 9, 2004

This might be a horrible thing for me to say, but the vampire woman looks like a skinny version of my foster son's biological mother.
posted by premiumpolar at 6:51 AM on February 10, 2004

17/20. Although I thought I was doing really badly.
posted by orange swan at 12:20 PM on February 10, 2004

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