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An interesting theory that facial expressions affect blood-flow to the brain and are not just results of emotions. The assertion is that these blood-flows affect our emotions. So SMILE! :-)

Zajonc, R. B., Emotion and Facial Efference: A Theory Reclaimed, Scince, 1985, 288, 15-2

He also asserted that elation follows the smile, not the opposite. The blood flow changes caused by contracting the facial muscles in the smile alter cerebral blood flow and cause an emotional change. He extends this reasoning to account for all kinds of other bizarre facial habits associated with emotions -- wrinkled forheads, rubbing one's eyes, hand on forehead, pulling earlobes, licking lips, etc.

Via Jonas



"Our natural way of thinking about these standard emotions is that the mental perception of some fact excites the mental affection called the emotion, and that this latter state of mind gives rise to the bodily expression. My thesis on the contrary is that the bodily changes follow directly the PERCEPTION of the exciting fact, and that our feeling of the [p.190] same changes as they occur IS the emotion."

Let your smile BE your umbrella on a rainy day.

Smiling certainly makes me happy! :-))

It is easy to point out that this theory is inadequate when we remember that blood flow to the brain is only a single degree of freedom, whereas there are at least five major facial emotions and hundreds of more complex emotions. So controlling blood flow could conceivably turn on a single emotion, but the information signal is obviously inadequate to handle even the first five. It thus seems apparent that emotions are communicated inside the body by hormones, as well as brain activity. There are easily more than a hundred different hormones, and this allows enough information bandwidth to support the different emotions. The fact that smiling does make you happy simply means that the brain center responsible for generating the happiness hormone and the smiling expression conflates the two of them, just like the sneezing reflex is triggered by bright lights. So, put on a smile today. Start by being happy. Please check out if you'd like to learn more.