A Critical Examination of Facial Expression

Even the slightest tweaks to natural facial expressions, like the smile, can change the way the world views a person’s face, according to artist Gary Faigin.

Notably, the study of facial expression isn’t so much about aesthetics, according to Faigin. It’s about science. It’s quantifiable.

“What’s really critical here is how hypersensitive we are to what’s going on with the smile. We have this North Star in our mental framework for what is normal and everything is based on that. When we see a smile that is off the norm, we get queasy — we don’t like it,” Faigin says.