Monday, 13 January 2014

Adaptation: Infographic- Research

For my idea, the timeline of an action seemed very interesting, in terms of breaking down a very short action (Smile) into smaller actions.
Smile seemed like a very powerful expression to me as it happens very quickly but means a lot.
Its universal trait makes it easy to be shared and recognised. It is a way to communicate joy, love or laughter. It has the power to change people's mood in less than a second.
When researching, it took me a while to find out the process of Smiling as it is a very complex action yet fascinating.

In a recent research scientists concluded “that smiling can be as 
stimulating as receiving up to 16,000 Pounds Sterling in cash.”

- Smiling is an action to transmit information, which can be received, read and interpreted differently by some cultures.

However it is viewed as a friendly sign across most cultures.
The entire event is short, it lasts from two-thirds of a second to four seconds.

It seems to be an easy expression, which is characterized by a rise of the corners of the mouth, lifting of cheeks and crinkle of eyes.
In short, scientists have learned that one of humanity’s simplest expressions is beautifully complex.

It usually starts in one the sensory areas of the brain triggered either by a sound, a feeling or a visual, where the neuronal signals travel to the brainstem. 

This information is processed in the Temporal lobe, a region of the cerebral cortex, which allows communication between the left and right temporal lobe and between the occipital, parietal and frontal lobes of the brain. This helps retention of visual memories, facial recognition, sensory input, language comprehension, new memory storage and emotions.

After this, the information is planned; controlled and executed in the extrapyramidal system, a neural network which is responsible for involuntary reflexes and movements.
 The cranial nerve (Facial nerve) transports a signal towards the central part of the face (smile muscle).
Once the nerve fires, the corners of the mouth (Zygomaticus major) and cheeks are pulled up, and then if the smile is real, a facial nerve activates small muscles around the eye, which causes wrinkling around the eyes 
(Orbicularis Oculi).

The scientific analysis of the smile goes back to 1860s, when the French anatomist Guillaume Benjamin Amad Duchenne de Boulogne used electrical currents to make facial muscles contract and believe that through studying the muscles underlying facial movement we could gain insight into how the face expresses emotions.

For instance, after the electrical simulation, the recorded expressions show that a true smile is characterised by wrinkling of the muscle around the eyes (Orbicularis Oculi) (B), this means that the mouth and cheeks muscles obey without problem but the eye needs a true feeling to be activated.
Opposed to the true smile, the fake smile is considered as a voluntary action; therefore the signal takes a different route. The Motor cortex is the region responsible for voluntary actions and movements.

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