When you’re genuinely excited or upset, certain muscles in the face constrict, creating wrinkles around your eyes known as Duchenne markers.
A new study published in the journal Emotion found that when people looked at photos of happy and sad expressions, they ranked those that were free of Duchenne markers as less sincere and intense compared to identical images that showed these characteristics.
When you’re feeling intense emotions, like when you’re scared or excited, eye wrinkles appear automatically and involuntarily, says study author Julio Martinez-Trujillo, MD, Ph.D., associate professor at Western University in London, Ontario.
If you really want to understand someone’s true feelings during a situation, like a workplace confrontation or a family get-together, their eyes might say it all. But it isn’t necessary to scrutinize every smile or frown that you see, especially in casual settings with friends. “If you concentrate on it too much, you may make people self-conscious,” Martinez-Trujillo says.
Your brain is hardwired to recognize Duchenne markers, so when you have a gut feeling about whether or not someone’s being genuine or sincere, go with it.
Photo: Martin Petersson/The Licensing Project.com