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Dr-David-Banner

Smiling To Fit In

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Dr-David-Banner

Once again today I took a look at a big poster in the shop where some people I know work. It shows a charity bash where all the staff are to be pictured with the public. The idea is to look involved, helpful and natural. Every single face of the fifteen or so pictured showed a natural smile. Every single person easily "blended in". You could argue the smiles were really just theatrical for the camera but, even so, they were easily produced on cue. All these people clearly felt comfortable playing their part. Smiling is such a simple skill which I find impossible to fake. I am relieved to discover that very low emotional response is noted down often in autism case history files. Asperger mentioned it once where he stated some children seemed sullen and edgy when in the middle of jovial company. Asperger claimed autistic people are out of synch and not in harmony with others. One thing I noticed is some people smile more than others or you can face read their emotions more easily. I know one girl who smiles all the time when relaxed but becomes serious under stress with her mouth open. One other woman gets teased for appearing serious but I notice she smiles quite nicely during customer interaction. Sometimes I ask myself why I don't smile and is it reflective of cold emotions or lack of humanity? Even Asperger seemed frustrated by this symptom and called it "automization" or "soulessness". Only recently did I start to notice how people smile. It's amazing too how such smiles help create inclusion and acceptance. So now I am aware that all in all I don't smile and, yes, the impression must be a bit robotic and dead-pan. The snag is we are all basically emotional beings but autistics very much lack this capacity in as much as it harmonizes along social lines. 

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Nesf

I find it hard to produce a convincing smile on cue, too. It's a forced 'say cheese' smile that doesn't look genuine. I don't like having my photo taken and usually decline to be included in people's photos.

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Dr-David-Banner
7 hours ago, Nesf said:

I find it hard to produce a convincing smile on cue, too. It's a forced 'say cheese' smile that doesn't look genuine. I don't like having my photo taken and usually decline to be included in people's photos.

I think my ability to just about smile did exist a few years ago. These days, I can't smile as a social skill in a way it can be turned on or off. There is something else too. Scientists who have autistic traits appear to be hopeless or rare smilers. Below shows Nichola Tesla with Albert Einstein (both hardly looking the life and soul of the party). Charles Darwin (suspected of autism traits) seems "a bit grim".

Smiling in itself is an interesting subject. Why do people generally tend to be wary of those of us who don't smile? To me, the more you smile, seems to be an indication of a very open disposition and readiness to meet the world. Smiling is also part of the mating game or friend-finding game and I imagine is very important. How often do you hear girls say they fancy someone due to details like eyes (and I would say smiling, as well).

I can only guess scientists smile less probably because of the amount of time they spend grinding their brains and, thereby, curtailing any time devoted to social communication skills.

 

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Nesf

I think that extroverted people smile more, or more readily, than introverted people, because a smile shows an openness towards other people. It's not really possible to know whether a persons smiles a lot from a couple of old photos... you really need to know a person to know if they are smiley or not. A photo is just one instant of their lives, and not a representation of the person as a whole. I've seen footage of Einstein where he was smiling, so obviously he did.

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Sanctuary

The pictures above are rather old and I get the impression that in those days when an "important" or "intellectual" person was photographed (or painted in earlier times) there was an expectation that they adopted a "serious" countenance. I think things have changed now, perhaps because of the importance of media and marketing, and we can find plenty of pictures of current-day and recent experts in smiling mode (as well as more serious depictions). It's very possible that Einstein, Darwin and other past intellectuals were regular smilers in their private lives and even at their work away from the camera.

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HalfFull

In workplaces and the like some who never knew me thought that I was very serious and stern looking. However, if I'm relaxed this can really turn around and if I'm having a really good time, can be found with a huge grin on my face. I remember seeing the surprise on some people from another team at work when I was dancing on tables at the Christmas do (most people were but it was just assumed that I was too serious). In fact, if you say something that I find immensely funny, I may just clap like a seal, although this is usually in private.

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Dr-David-Banner
4 hours ago, Nesf said:

I think that extroverted people smile more, or more readily, than introverted people, because a smile shows an openness towards other people. It's not really possible to know whether a persons smiles a lot from a couple of old photos... you really need to know a person to know if they are smiley or not. A photo is just one instant of their lives, and not a representation of the person as a whole. I've seen footage of Einstein where he was smiling, so obviously he did.

I already did play fair on basis of averages. For example, Jiddu Krishnamurti seemed to be around 90 per cent and can be seen smiling. For the most part though he is serious. As for Einstein he was known to have a sense of humour but his serious pics outstrip the ones where he may perhaps smile. Only one pic of Tesla showed a smile. Darwin seemed very grim. Lenin was no bag of joys either. As to cultural influence it could well be true we were not supposed to smile for photos back then. Then again check out maths scientist Grigory Perelman of modern times. He looks dead serious. He turned down Baron Cohen's request to diagnose him for high autism.and.disallows photos during his lectures.

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Dr-David-Banner
7 minutes ago, HalfFull said:

In workplaces and the like some who never knew me thought that I was very serious and stern looking. However, if I'm relaxed this can really turn around and if I'm having a really good time, can be found with a huge grin on my face. I remember seeing the surprise on some people from another team at work when I was dancing on tables at the Christmas do (most people were but it was just assumed that I was too serious). In fact, if you say something that I find immensely funny, I may just clap like a seal, although this is usually in private.

In modern psychology they don't tell you Asperger noticed his children patients would laugh or smile only in a dark way. I did find this to be true for myself. For example, once there was a toilet cubicle I knew had no paper. Someone went in and soon as the whistling started, I was starting to giggle. When the person realised there was no paper he yelled "Shit!" At that, I fell on my knees laughing. It was close to tears of laughter. 

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Dr-David-Banner

A google image search of Grigory Perelman is not flattering. He looks very grave. Far as I know possibly still no girlfriend - although he is very private and who knows? He's a total maths genius and hates being bothered by people. 

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HalfFull

I believe that often, people in Victorian photographs were not smiling simply because they couldn't tell which moment the photograph would be taken and they couldn't keep the smile going for long enough. My brother took a photo of me years ago by the fountains at Alnwick Gardens, so a great setting and I did actually smile, but he took so long to finally press the button that my neutral expression had returned. For some time it was the only recent photo I had available to use as my online avatar and I got comments like "You're way too serious for one so young". Frustrating considering I went to all that effort to smile for the camera.

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