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  • When I was a child, I always wanted to be a superhero.

  • I wanted to save the world and then make everyone happy.

  • But I knew that I'd need superpowers

  • to make my dreams come true.

  • So I used to embark on these imaginary journeys

  • to find intergalactic objects from planet Krypton,

  • which was a lot of fun,

  • but didn't get much result.

  • When I grew up and realized

  • that science fiction was not a good source for superpowers,

  • I decided instead to embark on a journey of real science,

  • to find a more useful truth.

  • I started my journey in California

  • with a UC Berkley 30-year longitudinal study

  • that examined the photos of students

  • in an old yearbook

  • and tried to measure their success and well-being

  • throughout their life.

  • By measuring their student smiles,

  • researchers were able to predict

  • how fulfilling and long-lasting

  • a subject's marriage will be,

  • how well she would score

  • on standardized tests of well-being

  • and how inspiring she would be to others.

  • In another yearbook, I stumbled upon Barry Obama's picture.

  • When I first saw his picture,

  • I thought that these superpowers came from his super collar.

  • But now I know it was all in his smile.

  • Another aha! moment

  • came from a 2010 Wayne State University research project

  • that looked into pre-1950s baseball cards

  • of Major League players.

  • The researchers found

  • that the span of a player's smile

  • could actually predict the span of his life.

  • Players who didn't smile in their pictures

  • lived an average of only 72.9 years,

  • where players with beaming smiles

  • lived an average of almost 80 years.

  • (Laughter)

  • The good news is that we're actually born smiling.

  • Using 3D ultrasound technology,

  • we can now see that developing babies appear to smile,

  • even in the womb.

  • When they're born,

  • babies continue to smile --

  • initially, mostly in their sleep.

  • And even blind babies smile

  • to the sound of the human voice.

  • Smiling is one of the most basic, biologically-uniform

  • expressions of all humans.

  • In studies conducted in Papua New Guinea,

  • Paul Ekman,

  • the world's most renowned researcher on facial expressions,

  • found that even members of the Fore tribe,

  • who were completely disconnected from Western culture,

  • and also known for their unusual cannibalism rituals,

  • attributed smiles to descriptions of situations

  • the same way you and I would.

  • So from Papua New Guinea

  • to Hollywood

  • all the way to modern art in Beijing,

  • we smile often,

  • and you smile to express joy

  • and satisfaction.

  • How many people here in this room

  • smile more than 20 times per day?

  • Raise your hand if you do. Oh, wow.

  • Outside of this room,

  • more than a third of us smile more than 20 times per day,

  • whereas less than 14 percent of us

  • smile less than five.

  • In fact, those with the most amazing superpowers

  • are actually children,

  • who smile as many as 400 times per day.

  • Have you ever wondered why being around children

  • who smile so frequently

  • makes you smile very often?

  • A recent study at Uppsala University in Sweden

  • found that it's very difficult to frown

  • when looking at someone who smiles.

  • You ask, why?

  • Because smiling is evolutionarily contagious,

  • and it suppresses the control

  • we usually have on our facial muscles.

  • Mimicking a smile

  • and experiencing it physically

  • help us understand whether our smile is fake or real,

  • so we can understand the emotional state

  • of the smiler.

  • In a recent mimicking study

  • at the University of Clermont-Ferrand in France,

  • subjects were asked to determine

  • whether a smile was real or fake

  • while holding a pencil in their mouth

  • to repress smiling muscles.

  • Without the pencil, subjects were excellent judges,

  • but with the pencil in their mouth --

  • when they could not mimic the smile they saw --

  • their judgment was impaired.

  • (Laughter)

  • In addition to theorizing on evolution in "The Origin of Species,"

  • Charles Darwin also wrote

  • the facial feedback response theory.

  • His theory states

  • that the act of smiling itself

  • actually makes us feel better --

  • rather than smiling being merely a result

  • of feeling good.

  • In his study,

  • Darwin actually cited a French neurologist, Guillaume Duchenne,

  • who used electric jolts to facial muscles

  • to induce and stimulate smiles.

  • Please, don't try this at home.

  • (Laughter)

  • In a related German study,

  • researchers used fMRI imaging

  • to measure brain activity

  • before and after injecting Botox

  • to suppress smiling muscles.

  • The finding supported Darwin's theory

  • by showing that facial feedback

  • modifies the neural processing

  • of emotional content in the brain

  • in a way that helps us feel better when we smile.

  • Smiling stimulates our brain reward mechanism

  • in a way that even chocolate --

  • a well-regarded pleasure inducer --

  • cannot match.

  • British researchers found that one smile

  • can generate the same level of brain stimulation

  • as up to 2,000 bars of chocolate.

  • (Laughter)

  • Wait. The same study found

  • that smiling is as stimulating

  • as receiving up to 16,000 pounds Sterling in cash.

  • That's like 25 grand a smile.

  • It's not bad.

  • And think about it this way:

  • 25,000 times 400 --

  • quite a few kids out there

  • feel like Mark Zuckerberg every day.

  • And, unlike lots of chocolate,

  • lots of smiling can actually make you healthier.

  • Smiling can help reduce the level

  • of stress-enhancing hormones

  • like cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine,

  • increase the level of mood-enhancing hormones

  • like endorphin

  • and reduce overall blood pressure.

  • And if that's not enough,

  • smiling can actually make you look good

  • in the eyes of others.

  • A recent study at Penn State University

  • found that when you smile,

  • you don't only appear to be more likable and courteous,

  • but you actually appear to be more competent.

  • So whenever you want to look great and competent,

  • reduce your stress

  • or improve your marriage,

  • or feel as if you just had a whole stack of high-quality chocolate --

  • without incurring the caloric cost --

  • or as if you found 25 grand in a pocket

  • of an old jacket you hadn't worn for ages,

  • or whenever you want to tap into a superpower

  • that will help you and everyone around you

  • live a longer, healthier, happier life,

  • smile.

  • (Applause)

When I was a child, I always wanted to be a superhero.

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B1 TED smiling facial study chocolate darwin

【TED】Ron Gutman: The hidden power of smiling (The hidden power of smiling | Ron Gutman)

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    VoiceTube posted on 2013/07/14
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