Sunday, December 11, 2005

Americans and Brits Smile Differently

The impression you have that Americans are cocky cowboys and Englishmen sensitive milquetoasts might have some biological merit, if the New York Times Magazine is to be trusted:
Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, contends that Americans and the English smile differently. On this side of the Atlantic, we simply draw the corners of our lips up, showing our upper teeth. Think Julia Roberts or the gracefully aged Robert Redford. "I think Tom Cruise has a terrific American smile," Keltner, who specializes in the cultural meaning of emotions, says. In England, they draw the lips back as well as up, showing their lower teeth. The English smile can be mistaken for a suppressed grimace or a request to wipe that stupid smile off your face. Think headwaiter at a restaurant when your MasterCard seems tapped out, or Prince Charles anytime.
Link (via BoingBoing). I wonder if this has goes anywhere toward explaining how awesome the idea of Hugh Grant as James Bond is. No? Okay then.

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