UPDATED June 17th, 2017
Perhaps Mona Lisa’s is the most widely considered in the world, but everyone is capable of flashing smiles so mysterious that we’re not quite sure what they mean. The simplest smile is a show of happiness, but when you add up all the possibilities—the presence or absence of teeth, the position of the jaw, what the eyes are doing up above—countless other meanings emerge. So what does your smile say about you?
Accurately reading different types of smiles impacts everything from evaluating a job interview or gauging the temperature of a blind date. Just make sure not to use the mouth as your only thermometer: “It is the eyes that will give away a person’s true feelings while they are smiling,” says Dr. Adam Shulhof of the Schulhof Center for Cosmetic Orthodontics. “This is because when a person is truly happy and smiling a genuine smile, the cheeks should rise, resulting in the skin around the eye region ‘crinkling.’” Reading the eyes, the musculature around the face, and the shape of the mouth together can clue you into whether someone is really happy or faking it. So when considering the question: What does your smile say about you? or next time someone’s smirk seems suspicious, see if it fits into one of these categories.