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Rejects spot fake smiles
A study published in the October issue of Psychological Science has found that people who feel rejected are significantly better at spotting fake smiles than are other people. (Link: US News & World Report.) Those who feel rejected can accurately detect fake smiles 80% of the time, versus only 50% for other groups.

According to the author of the study, "It's not clear why rejection may boost the ability to figure out when someone else is faking an emotion. It may have something to do with a primitive need to fit in with others and to detect what they're really thinking."

I think it may have something to do with a concept long recognized in psychology: that people with a slightly negative self-image are better at spotting BS than people with high self-esteem. Why would this be? As my college social psychology textbook explains:

Individuals with negative self-concepts do not engage in the kinds of self-justifying behaviors that are typical of people with relatively high-self-esteem.

Still, I suspect the vast majority of the people in the world would much rather be happy and self-deluded than sad and good at spotting fake smiles.
Psychology
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 19, 2008
Why do they assume that those people can spot fake smiles because they feel rejected? Isn't it just as likely that a better ability to spot a fake smile might contribute to feeling rejected?

After all, if you can't tell when someone is lying to you, it seems you'd be less likely to feel like they're not that into you, even when they really aren't that into you.
Posted by parkrrrr  on  Wed Nov 19, 2008  at  04:54 PM
Plus, does the study mention how often those people get a false positive. As in, they think a smile is fake when it is actually real. Maybe it's the case that they are just more likely to consider all smiles fake than be able to tell the difference between the fake and the real.

It's also possible that this is mentioned in the link. I didn't click it because I'm suppose to be doing useful things right now and though I'm procrastinating, I'd like to keep the procrastination to a minimum.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Wed Nov 19, 2008  at  06:49 PM
though I'm procrastinating, I'd like to keep the procrastination to a minimum.
Posted by Razela in Tucson, AZ

You're procrastinating on your procrastination?

J/P=?
Posted by John Paradox  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Wed Nov 19, 2008  at  08:02 PM
"It's not clear why rejection may boost the ability to figure out when someone else is faking an emotion."

Er. . . practice?
Posted by JoeDaJuggler  in  St. Louis, MO  on  Wed Nov 19, 2008  at  10:14 PM
I had a similar thought as parkrrr--why presume the causality is "rejectedness" creates an ability to read smiles better? Wouldn't the ability to read people better cause more rejections?
Posted by floormaster squeeze  on  Thu Nov 20, 2008  at  09:25 AM
They have it bassackward, people of a more sensitive, intuitive nature, can sense many of peoples underlieing emotions behind the smiles and platitudes of the facade(sp?).
Posted by t cantin  in  Vermont  on  Sat Nov 22, 2008  at  01:25 PM
According to the author of the study, "It's not clear why rejection may boost the ability to figure out when someone else is faking an emotion."

Ummm.....practice?
Posted by sudont  in  The Interstate  on  Tue Nov 25, 2008  at  07:10 PM
I think that saying "rejects" or people who don't "fit in" is a very strong opintion or its all based on assumption, because I have very high self esteem, was popular in high school, have lots of friends now, am the life of the party, a social butterfly, etc...and I did a challenge in my Bio 201 class on fake smiles to see how many fake smiles out of 20 I could get correct. I was confident that I knew how to spot fake smiles...(my eye slants and muscle movements on the cheeks) and I was correct with my thoughts. I got 18 out of 20 correct! I don't think it has anything to do with rejectedness, not fitting in, low self esteem, etc. So, I just proved that theory wrong I guess.
Posted by Jessica B  in  Phoenix, AZ  on  Tue Dec 02, 2008  at  09:12 AM
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