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Lip Service: Smiles in Life, Death, Trust, Lies, Work, Memory, Sex, and Politics Hardcover – August 8, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (August 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393060047
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393060041
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #471,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“LaFrance’s extensive research, clear and sometimes humorous writing, and interdisciplinary approach make this a very fine book for anyone who smiles (or doesn’t).” (Publishers Weekly)

“LaFrance shows that there is much more to a pair of upturned lips than meets the eye.” (Scientific American)

“A masterly example of social sciences at its best—a look at how researchers do their work, what questions they ask, how answers lead to new questions, and why all of this matters in our everyday lives. . . . LaFrance’s true subject is not simply the smile but its uniquely human double purpose: to convey our feelings—and disguise them.” (Wall Street Journal)

“Yale psychology professor Marianne LaFrance draws on the latest research—in fields from biology to anthropology to computer science—in an effort to shed some light on the happy face.” (O, The Oprah Magazine) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Marianne LaFrance received her PhD from Boston University. She is now a professor at Yale University, and her research has been featured in media outlets such as NPR, the BBC, and the New York Times. She lives in Guilford, Connecticut.

More About the Author

Dr. Marianne LaFrance is Professor of Psychology and Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University where she teaches courses on social psychology, gender psychology, and nonverbal communication. As an experimental social psychologist she does research on how emotion and power are reflected in and maintained by subtle communication cues. Her overall aim is to understand how nonverbal communication in the form of facial expression, gesture, posture, vocal intonation create, reflect, repair and undo social relationships.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
In some ways, I feel like I'm seeing people for the first time.
Poetry Fan
Every once in a while I read a book that is entertaining, informative, humourous as well as providing many wonderful "aha" moments.
Sandy M
LaFrance interdisciplinary approach makes her novel study of great interest for anyone who takes seriously such extensive research.
Didaskalex

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Didaskalex VINE VOICE on September 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
****
"Marianne LaFrance drew on her own research and recent findings in a variety of scientific disciplines. Her Lip Service constantly surprises with its evidence that emotions that we convey in nanoseconds have such powerful social consequences. Putting a new face on that familiar grin."

Lip service, is defined by online dictionaries as, "An avowal of advocacy, adherence, or allegiance expressed in words but not backed by deeds," or "Verbal expression of agreement or allegiance, unsupported by real conviction or action; hypocritical respect." The author recent findings in a variety of scientific disciplines, are described in the book which explores much more as, "Smiles begin at the lips, but they almost stop there." Their impact can be felt as flirtation or smirky insult; a cheerful affirmation or a mark of gutsy transcendence.

Smiles are defined as socially motivated acts of courtesy and inter-human approach, essential for personal and traditional well-being, "with consequences," adds LaFrance, Yale social psychologist. She approaches here, a wide range of related psychological and cultural, as well as biological issues to outline the various types of smiles and how to identify and react to them; the welcoming smiles of salespeople, the assuring smile of your pastor, and the manipulative ones of elected officials. LaFrance is particularly interested in analyzing smiling as a powerful tool used on different levels power assured persons smile when they feel like it, while power deprived people when they have to.

She considers the cultural differences in how often people smile and what public smiles may express.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sandy M on August 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Every once in a while I read a book that is entertaining, informative, humourous as well as providing many wonderful "aha" moments. Lip Service is one of these books. It is about the complicated act of smiling and fulfils the above criteria and more. It is a great read, the kind of book I didn't want to put down because it is such a pleasure but also didn't want to go through too quickly because then it would be over. But not to worry, I know I will read it again. Lip Service has so much to offer anyone who has ever wondered about what smiles really mean.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gian Fiero on February 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
So what can you write about a simple smile? Apparently, a lot. Marianne LaFrance, a psychology professor at Yale, has assembled a body of work that proves a smile is not so simple. In fact, she dissects the science of a smile; including the latest research in psychology, medicine, anthropology, brain science, and computer science to move you beyond the obvious intepretations of a smile; ultimately answering the question which motivated her research: how and when do people smile?

I found the information about the Duchenne smile (a genuine smile) versus the non-Duchenne smile to be fascinating. More importanlty, the fact that a genuine smile emanates from the eyes and not the lips, intensified my interest. Yes, women smile more, but is that because they are socially conditioned to smile? Or is it that their zygomaticus major muscle (which controls smiling) is significantlty thicker in women than in men? The book frames smiling in a social/gender context that will make you do some self-reflection.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Poetry Fan on August 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
After hearing the author interviewed on the radio, a friend bought a copy of Lip Service and sent it to me. I am fascinated with human behavior and this book offers amazing insights into the facial expressions that we use and see all day long. In some ways, I feel like I'm seeing people for the first time. The book is extremely thoughtful, but it is also clear and very lively. Everything is supported with evidence and facts, but the author makes the science real, immediate, and vital.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Thorough book that covers many angles around smiling - from cultural differences to fascinating experiments that will open up your mind to new ideas about smiling. This book was so much more than what I expected. You will not be disappointed as it is a fascinating read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent. Required reading if you are interested in interpersonal communication, and who isn't? This is not, however, a how-to book. Rather, it is an informative and clearly written discussion of the many ways that smiles are used, not only in our own culture, but around the world as well. Some of the conclusions are surprising. For example, the way smiles are used is not necessarily universal at all. One would do well to keep that in mind when traveling abroad, particularly in Japan.

Though she's an academic, Ms. LaFrance never makes one strain to follow, say, overly formal language. I also appreciated her occasional touches of humor. The book cites many, many studies, but always stays lively and never drags on that account. All in all, a most enjoyable read and one I'm sure I'll be returning to again. The title on the paperback edition has been changed to Why Smile: The Science Behind Facial Expressions.
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