Monday, November 15, 2010

Spot the fake smiles

"Most people are surprisingly bad at spotting fake smiles."

I'm surprisingly good at it. I got 18 out of 20 correct on this BBC quiz.

If that result seems incongruous in someone with even mild Asperger's syndrome, I think this might have something to do with why:

"One possible explanation for this [inability to spot fake smiles] is that it may be easier for people to get along if they don't always know what others are really feeling."

I don't get along easily, of course. Maybe an over-sensitivity to faking is part of that. I don't know if this is common in Aspergians at all, but I've noticed that a lot of phonies (e.g., politicians, preachers, salespeople, etc.) can't fool me at all. I often see right through fakers, especially when they try to emote (like Glenn Beck, for example). And I don't mean that I kind of wonder about them, I mean that their phoniness seems glaringly (and sometimes even comically) obvious to me. I find it a little hard to believe sometimes that people can actually believe they're sincere.

I think this might be because I'm bad at reading social cues given through facial expressions and body language. Maybe the things that these phonies do to make themselves look sincere and fool neurotypical people go right by me. So maybe I end up missing most of the cues they want people to see and seeing too many of the ones that they want to hide. That's my theory, anyway.

Maybe that carried over to this specific quiz. Almost all the fake smiles seemed really fake to me. I felt much more strongly about most of them than I did about the genuine smiles.

Anyway, I'm interested to see how well other people do. Take the quiz and let me know how you did.

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  1. 12 out of 20 here. I watch the eyes. If the eyes are blank, that's a fake smile. :)

  2. I watched the eyes too.

  3. 16 out of 20. In the genuine ones, the person's body also slightly moved as if they were reacting to a joke. The fake ones were more isolated to the mouth only.

  4. Yeah, I thought a couple of the genuine ones actually seemed to be laughing at something. Also, the genuine ones tended to make me want to smile too.

  5. I was disappointed. I only got 12 out of 20.

  6. I think lower scores (closer to chance, i.e., 10 out of 20) are probably "better" than higher ones in this quiz. They're more "normal" anyway.

  7. I got a 17 out of 20. My husband and I are recent addicts to the show "Lie to Me" and subsequent websurfing led me to the Eyes For Lies website, which is where I originally found the test. If you have several days of free time, I highly recommend it. If not, you might want to stay far, far away.

  8. 16 out of 20...I'm not sure what that says about me.


What do you think?