Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Spot the Fake Smile Test- A Whole New Mind

I recently read in Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind, about a fake smile test in the chapter called Empathy and decided I would try it out for myself. I consider myself decent at reading what people’s emotions and knowing if what they are expressing is true, but I was somewhat worried about how I would fare with this test. Most people are very good actors and are able to hide what they really feel quite well. People tend to not notice this whether it is because they do not care or if they truly do not notice I am not sure.

In this test, there were twenty questions in all. You would receive the questions one at a time and then go to the next one. Each question had a video of a person smiling and down at the bottom you would click if it was a genuine smile or a fake smile. Seems easy right? Well the real kicker was that you only get to watch the video once so you can not scrutinize over whether it was real or not, you just had to go with your instinct.
These are two images taken from the test one is a fake smile and one is a genuine smile:

I missed the fake one and I answered the genuine correctly. There is not much of a difference is there?

I really did not think I was going to do well. Once I started to watch the videos I found it was very difficult to distinguish the difference, but I did my best and I am pleased with my result. Out of twenty questions, I answered fourteen correctly. The results said that surprisingly most people do very poorly in spotting the fake smiles. It said a reason for this may be because it is easier to get along with people when you do not know what they really feel; that made me think. And to me that opinion seems very realistic, I mean wouldn’t you get along with someone better if you didn’t know that they thought you were boring and senseless? I know I would.

I realize that I hardly ever look to see if a smile is real or not, I just don’t notice. This test has made me realize that maybe I should look to see a little more closely and learn to understand the person’s feelings better.