When you speak without words: smile and other facial expressions

Do you understand people? Most people evaluate others primarily by their appearance. Words have not yet been spoken and deeds have not been committed, but an opinion about a person has already been formed. Observing the movements of the muscles of the face, you can draw correct psychological conclusions.

Do you understand people? During long-term communication or immediately, at first sight? Most people evaluate those around them not only by their words and actions, but also by their appearance. No words have yet been spoken, no actions have been taken, but an opinion about the person has already been formed.

Trying to understand and appreciate a person, first of all we pay attention to his face. Observing the movements of the muscles of the face, you can make the first, fairly correct psychological conclusions.

Lips and eyebrows are very expressive in the mimic palette. Only they can confirm or deny this or that impression from the gaze of the interlocutor. Decisiveness and perseverance are evidenced by tightly compressed lips and clenched teeth; about the intense gathering of all bodily forces down to the last muscle, about protection in the form of an outburst of anger or malicious rage (observed, for example, during hand-to-hand combat in war), stretched lips, clenched and bared teeth, at the same time hissing breath speak slit in both directions " sh-sh-sh "; the experienced pleasant sentimentality and naive vanity are indicated by lips tightly pressed to the teeth and to each other, thus closing the mouth (the tongue is adjacent to the teeth, the corners of the mouth are slightly raised); when evaluating, tasting, examining, the lips are extended forward (they can be open or closed).

When a person protests against something, he pushes his lips forward with a slight (maybe only indicated) lifting of the corners of the mouth, the mouth is slightly open. This is easily recognized from the situation - "make a grimace", "sulk", in women - "pout". This grimace occurs when a well-fed baby pushes the mother's breast away. Spitting adults have a similar lip shape. It is often accompanied by angry, wide-open, round eyes and a protesting sound like "uh-uh". The grimace also expresses hostility, stubbornness, annoyance.

With great surprise, the mouth opens as much as possible. With internal resistance to this, the movement "hangs" halfway: a grimace of stunnedness is obtained. Often accompanied by bulging eyes, which, not understanding, look at the cause of the surprise.

To avoid hasty manifestations, a person bites his lips or tongue. This happens when there are surprises, especially when a person is sick and for a moment becomes helpless, but does not want to stay further in a state of this helplessness, that is, in principle, he has control over himself.

With the anticipation of the performance, it is possible to lick the lips. The tongue is drawn along the edge of the lips almost playfully, but at the same time - a thoughtful look. If the mouth remains closed, then the tongue runs along the teeth, which can be seen on the cheeks, a share of self-control (latent activity) is added.

It is often possible to observe the accompanying movements of the tongue with each movement of the hands doing intricate work (writing letters by a first grader, threading a needle by adults). In adults, this particularly cautious approach, with a lot of inclusion of feelings, is reminiscent of children in whom rational thinking has not yet organized the usual frames for body movement.

The position of the corners of the lips is of particular importance. Darwin said that the corners of the lips drooping downwards are a rudiment of crying (the triangle muscle pulls the corners of the mouth down). No matter how a person tries to portray gaiety, the lowered corners of the lips will still betray him, will testify to a joyless state, sadness, disappointment and painful rejection of something.

Often, the drooping corners of the lips are a reflection of a negative attitude in life, can be characterized as "his face is stretched out." If the corners of the mouth are pulled down with tension, then this is an active pose of devaluation, underestimation of something, disgust, mockery, envy, ill will, boredom, skepticism, irony and gloom. If one corner of the mouth is bent, which is accompanied by a temporary asymmetry of the face, then this is an expression of an ironic grin.

The mouth is the most mobile part of the face. He is the center of every smile and every pain. The lips protruding forward can be regarded as a signal of hostility, and if they are drawn in, then this is already a symbol of withdrawal into oneself, which rather gives the impression of fright. If the pursed lips are tense, compressed, then this is how powerless anger is expressed. If the mouth is distorted during conversation (or laughter) and the alternation of movements is disharmonious, then this is an expression of negative aspirations even if all other signals are positive and the face seems friendly. A fixedly twisted mouth to one side (when this is not caused by a health condition) indicates the person's tendency to a mocking and contemptuous attitude.

Twitching and trembling of the mouth is an alarm signal, a warning of increased nervousness. Teeth grinding with no apparent external reason expresses general tension and overexertion.

The protruding chin is atavistically explained as facilitating the use of canine teeth in prehumans. Expresses violence and cruelty. It is often observed among civilized people when they, in a dangerous situation (vividly imagining it or already being in it), decide on a risky act.

A particularly treacherous thing is laughter. In laughter, stupidity, vulgarity, contempt, hatred, ridicule, gloating, embarrassment, falsity, etc. can be revealed. Presumably, the smile arose from a threatening gesture - "bared teeth". There are many types of smiles, but in people who smile or laugh a lot, over time, the face generally acquires a smiling, friendly expression.

The freer and more relaxed a smile seems to us, the more it is an expression of naive, pure joy. With a normal smile, the lips fit snugly against the dentition, and their corners move back a little. If a smile is forced, made - it suddenly appears and just as suddenly disappears, because of this, the hypocritical intentions hidden behind it become obvious.

Smiles "on demand" also include the smile of embarrassment. She is also inorganic. This is a forced smile, which is often used as compensation, for example, when expressing sympathy. A sugary smile can be established by a slightly more noticeable stretch of the lips.

If, when smiling, the lips remain closed in a rather tense state, then this is already a grin. Tension can signal both attention and a tendency to dominate. Pursed lips express detachment. Often a grin contains a malicious expression. In this case, it turns into a mimic expression of joy about something that should be kept secret.

A grimace of a smile is a grin. By such a smile, you can judge that in front of you is an impudent man, a bastard or a provocative insidious person. There may be a crooked smile, when only one of the corners of the mouth is either raised or lowered, which is a manifestation of a state of internal discord. A crooked smile makes it possible to hide a genuine opinion behind feigned friendliness (for example, when a boss or a respected person tells a joke, and employees have to laugh out of politeness).

To express various feelings, a person actively uses eyebrows. With the help of the forehead muscles, the eyebrows can be simply pulled up, and the eyebrows can be lowered using the contracting eye muscle. Wrinkled brows usually express tension, criticism, displeasure, anger, fury, and shock.

Eyebrows in the form of a convex crescent in certain situations express surprise, bewilderment, and in others, in combination with a smile - joy, pleasure.

The nose is a part of the face that is little subject to changes, however, subtle movements of the nose, if they are repeated many times, change the expression on the face and can even change the shape of the nose. If two small characteristic folds form between the nose and mouth, then the person experiences severe displeasure.

The wrinkling of the nose is part of the bitterness response. With frequent repetition, it leads to the appearance of a "suffering fold": due to the frequent raising of the wings of the nose, the upper end of the nasolabial fold cuts deep into the corners of the nose. Expresses dissatisfaction, unpleasant sensation, inconsistency, mental pain, disgust. It often happens with passive and feminine people.

Puffing up the wings of the nose can indicate intense inhalation of the smell, as well as agitation or rage (a large flow of air is provided). The wings of the nose are also inflated by temperamental people with strong and lasting feelings, expressing their excitement.

If the nasolabial fold, going from the corners of the nose to the line of the mouth, is noticeably deep and equally deep throughout, then this is the result of intense constant muscle tension during speech, laughter, etc. She talks about vitality and stamina.

Attention should also be paid to what general impression the facial expressions of this or that person produce. Very mobile mimicry testifies to the liveliness and rapid change in the perception of impressions and internal experiences, to mild excitability from external stimuli. Such excitability can reach manic proportions.

Sedentary facial expressions reflect the constancy of mental processes. It testifies to a rarely changing stable mood, characterizes a person as calm, constant, reasonable, reliable, balanced.

The monotony of facial expressions and a rare change in its forms with slow behavior and low tension speaks of mental monotony and weak impulsivity. The reason for this may be: monotonous mental states, boredom, sadness, indifference, dullness, emotional poverty, melancholy, depressive stupor.

When mimic processes consist of many separate expressions, such as "cold eyes and a laughing mouth", then analysis is possible only by observing each individual expression and its compatibility with others.

Author: Felix Alekseevich Kuzmin, professor at the Moscow State Academy of Press.