Darwin’s colleague Guillaume Duchenne first noticed the difference between smiles that are caused by enjoyment and those that aren’t. Both feature raised lip corners, but a genuine smile also activates the muscles around the eyes (lateral portions of the orbicularis oculi), causing “crow’s feet.”
This “Duchenne marker” is remarkably revealing. By observing it, researchers can predict whether an infant is being approached by its mother or by a stranger, and whether the infant’s mother is smiling at all. It also predicts when people who have lost their airline baggage began to feel less distress, how much a person enjoys being smiled at, whether a child has won or lost a game, and whether a person enjoys certain jokes and cartoons.
Beyond this, in clinical settings Duchenne smiles can predict a wide range of behaviors, including “whether a person will cope successfully with the death of his or her romantic partner; whether a person is an abusive caregiver; and whether a person is depressed, schizophrenic, recovering from an illness in general, or likely to respond successfully to psychotherapy.”
(From Mark G. Frank, “Thoughts, Feelings and Deception,” in Brooke Harrington, ed., Deception, 2009.)