sponge wrote:I’m no expert but I seem to remember reading that primates like apes, monkeys and humans who all live in social groups, use body language to communicate mood and feelings to other members of the group. Smiling, as far as I remember, signifies a lack of aggression, friendliness or fear.
I guess other animal groups have their own versions of body language.
I don’t think smiling particularly expresses happiness at all. We do tend to smile when nervous or to convey a friendly disposition. We might smile deliberately to convey our happiness to others but, I think, a spontaneous reaction to happiness is more likely to be a yell, a high fist salute or even a little dance. Left alone with on-going happiness, we tend to wallow in the good feeling and enjoy the glow but, in the absence of others, we rarely sit there grinning no matter how happy we are.
Unless that’s just me?:)
That might be just you. When I walk along the river on a beautiful day, I am smiling, if others are around or not. Researchers are investigating the facial feedback system. Our facial expressions also communicate our emotions to our brains, and when we do not get this facial muscle feedback, we are less sensitive to the emotion. I have a vague awareness of questioning how I feel at the moment and noticing I am smiling, and thinking, yup, I am really happy. http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/02/01 ... 11082.html
However, I have noticed some blind people do not have facial expressions. I think this is more likely if they were born blind? I am not sure, but I realized it is a terrible communication problem, as I observed a young man communicating with absolutely no facial expressions. This has an isolating effect, because we don't warm up to someone who is facially communicating, "I like you". I would guess we learn facial expressions.
In some cultures people are less emotionally expressive, and I heard when McDonald's went to the USSR, the company had to teach the staff to smile. Later customers were interviewed by a reporter and people enjoyed the McDonald's in part because everyone was smiling.