A Smiley Emoticon Can Change Your Brain?

A Smiley Emoticon Can Change Your Brain?

smiley face

We all know the importance of a healthy smile. It has been shown in studies that not only does a healthy smile do wonders for you overall health, smiling itself transmits feedback to your left frontal cortex. This feedback triggers a release of serotonin and dopamine which are known as the “happiness” neurotransmitters. Dopamine has a role in mood, sleep, motivation, cognition, learning and working memory. Serotonin also plays a role in regulating mood, appetite, sleep, memory and learning. To put it simply, just the act of smiling “tricks” your brain into feeling happy.

Studies conducted by the University of California’s psychology department have also shown that body language, including the act of smiling, play a role in perceiving charisma. This study found that charismatic people often smiled more than the average joe. This only applied to a genuine smile that is signified by the crinkling of the eyes. Also, interestingly, cross-culturally all smiles are seen as friendly. All across the world smiles indicate inclusiveness, friendliness and positive reception.

Perhaps most interestingly, when one person smiles at another, it is instinctual to smile in return. All facial expressions tend to create a mirror effect of corresponding feelings. So in turn when you smile at someone it can change their emotional state in a positive manner. This leads to another question.

Do emoticons have the same effect?

As it turns out, yes they do! A study out of Finders University in Australia demonstrated that the brain scans of people looking at emoticon smiley faces are similar to those of people looking at an actual human face smiling. So if you want to spread the positive energy around don’t let your lack of confidence in your smile hold you back. Contact the staff at Prescott Dentistry for a beautiful, healthy smile that you can share with the world.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (7/28/2015) Miguel Pires da Rosa (Flickr)