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A smile is formed primarily by flexing the muscles at the sides of the mouth. Some smiles include a contraction of the muscles at the corner of the eyes, an action known as a Duchenne smile. Among humans, a smile expresses delight, sociability, happiness, joy or amusement. It is distinct from a similar but usually involuntary expression of anxiety known as a grimace. Although cross-cultural studies have shown that smiling is a means of communication throughout the world, there are large differences among different cultures, religions and societies, with some using smiles to convey confusion or embarrassment. Evolutionary background Primatologist Signe Preuschoft traces the smile back over 30 million years of evolution to a 'fear grin' stemming from monkeys and apes who often used barely clenched teeth to portray to predators that they were harmless, or to signal submission to more dominant group members. The smile may have evolved differently among species and especially among humans. Social effects A smile seems to have a favorable influence upon others and makes one likable and more approachable. In the social context, smiling and laughter have different functions in the order of sequence in social situations:Smiling is sometimes a pre-laughing device and is a common pattern for paving the way to laughter,Smiling can be used as a response to laughter. Smiling is a signaling system that evolved from a need to communicate information in many different forms. One of these is an advertisement of sexual interest.
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