Dartmouth Events

Psychological and Brain Sciences Colloquium

Paula M. Niedenthal, PhD, University of Wisconsin

Friday, November 10, 2017
Moore B03
Intended Audience(s): Public
Categories: Lectures & Seminars

Please join us in Moore BO3 on Friday, November 10, 2017, at 4 p.m., as Paula M. Niedenthal, Howard Leventhal WARF Professor of Psychology at University of Wisconsin, presents “Tools for Love, Sympathy, and War: A Social-Functional Account of the Human Smile.”

Abstract:  The human smile is variable in both its form and the social contexts in which it is displayed. How do researchers and laypeople alike make sense of this nuanced facial expression? I present a social-functional framework from which we derive three distinct smile expressions defined in terms of their effect on the perceiver: 1) “reward” smiles that reinforce desired behavior, 2) “affiliation” smiles that invite and maintain social bonds, and 3) “dominance” smiles that help negotiate hierarchical relationships. Evidence from my laboratory is consistent with this account. Mathematical modeling of facial movements associated with judgments of reward, affiliation and dominance uncovers the appearance of the smiles, and Baysian and human classifiers validate the distinctions. Recent evidence suggests that three functional smiles have evolutionary roots in laughter. The social functions of smiles are recognized across culture and their influence extends to the physiology of the perceiver. Taken together, this evidence suggests that the smile can be productively investigated according to how it assists the smiler in meeting the challenges and opportunities inherent in human social living.

A reception will follow outside of Moore 202.

For more information, contact:
Michelle Powers

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.