Forcing a grin has been demonstrated through research to reduce heart rate and stress, and to increase cheerfulness. Chopsticks were used to induce an artificial smile in three groups of subjects. The fake smiles were described as neutral (first image), standard (second image), or Duchenne (third image). All three groups endured stress better than the control groups. The most successful group had assumed the Duchenne smile (third image) which is more realistic than the other fakes because it entails a wrinking effect around the the eyes — more closely resembling a real smile.
To ensnare the benefits of faking a smile, chopsticks aren't required. The embodied effect of smiling in itself produces the perk. The moral of the story is that, if confronted with a stressful task, it's cool to fake it. (On the other hand, do not force the issue of faking too long; prolonged artificial grinning can have the opposite effect, according to related research.)
In light of these findings, should EmbodiCog offer to sell chopsticks or similar "tools" (to enforce smiling) in its product mission to enlighten?
Let's think about it.
In this case, probably not.
Products and Services from EmbodiCog to introduce you to the Embodied Life...
Nine reliable insights (referenced in the neuroscience literature) to enhance communication, personal relationships, business management, trauma coping skills, and more. Neuroscience Insights is an emailed text article, which also describes simple mind tricks to boost self-esteem, success, and happiness.
One secret EMBODIED USE product, selected from neuroscience research. Intended to enlighten the recipient through its hidden possibilities. (Package remains SECRET until opened.)
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Three secret products selected for their EMBODIED COGNITION potential, and a description of their research. The choice of items can be specified for business and/or personal, but the package remains secret until opened. Each product is designed to enlighten the recipient through its informed, hidden attributes.
Personal email consultation designed to make your home, personal life, or business more successful, using the principles of embodied cognition and neuroscience. Suggestions tailored to your specific needs. Guaranteed: at least three hours of scientific research into finding solutions, offering sincere enlightenment as the appropriate goal.
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A listing on the Gratitude Page. Your listing shall include a short description of yourself and a link to your Web site, if you have one. (no adult sites, gambling-related content, etc.)
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Embodied Cognition in Action
That's right, it's not just about products and their hidden uses, or their effects on behavior. EC (Embodied Cognition) is triggered also through actions and situations. In short, EC has broad implications.
Here's just a teaser... "If you want to feel more powerful then adopt a powerful posture. Carney et al. (2010) found that when people stood or sat in powerful poses for one minute—those involving open limbs and expansive gestures—they not only felt more powerful but had increased levels of testosterone flooding their systems. Powerful poses take up more space, so spread your body and open up the arms or legs. When you dominate the space, your mind gets the message."
More "action" examples can be found in the listing below...
Here's a tip: if you wish to eat less, adopt a more constricted posture!
Seated posture at the dinner table can affect the amount of food consumed (Psychology of Women Quarterly).
Lowering the Pitch of Your Voice Makes You Feel More Powerful and Think More Abstractly (Social Psychology and Personality Science).
Besides action, posture, and pitch, good looks also exert influence on others' judgments and in oneself. So, you might ask, why did I include a picture of myself on EmbodiCog? Um, hmm. I'm still asking myself that question!
Investors prefer entrepreneurial ventures pitched by attractive men (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA March 25, 2014 111: 4427-4431)
Promotional items and other great stuff from EmbodiCog include a range of researched items from confirmed neuroscience studies. All Secret Packets are assembled to impart useful information, spark the imagination, and to support a dependable cause. Secret Packets consist of safe item(s) designed to influence and enlighten. Their potential benefits are explained in the cited research included in each package. To create a spirit of anticipation, all the products remain hidden until opened! Common objects found in plain sight often disguise the deepest secrets.
Mirror therapy. Phantom limb pain, a condition in which an amputee's missing limb is often "felt" to be existing in an uncomfortable position, represents another form of embodied cognition.
Dr. Ramachandran, a famous neuroscientist and researcher in this field, has discovered that using a clever placement of mirrors to "fool" the patient into thinking his or her phantom limb is actually free and unfettered, often cures the condition after repeated exposure. The deed is performed by substituting a reflection of the patient's other intact limb to falsely represent the missing part, and by tricking the subject's motor reactions into feeling the phantom to be that of the intact limb.
Mirror therapy utilizes the brain's plasticity to remold itself, untangling the prior signals of constriction.