Linda Hall

Hawke's Bay Today - - LOCAL NEWS - Linda Hall

A re­cent news item about a Rus­sian woman who was ar­rested be­cause she was smil­ing too much made me think about how much you can read from a per­son’s face.

Are­cent news item about a Rus­sian woman who was ar­rested be­cause she was smil­ing too much and a po­lice­man thought it was sus­pi­cions, much made me think about how much you can read from a per­son’s face.

Most of us would have a pretty good idea about the mood of our near­est and dear­est from a quick glance.

For in­stance, I don’t even have to talk to Mr Neat to gauge his mood.

One look at his face or the way he’s hold­ing him­self or walk­ing (fast is not good) tells me all I need to know.

The same with my chil­dren and grand­chil­dren. I can read them like a book.

It’s not hard when you know some­one so well.

Most par­ents know when their chil­dren are telling fibs.

Chil­dren show their emo­tions on their faces and in their ac­tions, think tantrums.

Un­like adults, who learn to hide their feel­ings.

A shame re­ally — we tend to get that stiff up­per lip as we age, keep­ing our emo­tions un­der wraps.

Per­haps if we didn’t do that as much and ex­pressed how we felt more of­ten there wouldn’t be so many peo­ple try­ing to cope with anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion.

What you are do­ing also has a lot to do with mood and fa­cial ex­pres­sion.

For in­stance if I go to see my grand­chil­dren and they are out­side play­ing they al­ways greet me with much en­thu­si­asm, loud voices, hugs and smiles,

How­ever, if I hap­pen upon them in­side with eyes down, a de­vice clutched close to their body, I’m lucky to get a hello as their eyes dart to me and back down again.

It’s the same sce­nario with adults.

If you meet them when they are at the beach on a beau­ti­ful sunny day or re­lax­ing with friends, there are smiles all round.

How­ever, meet the same per­son in the mid­dle of a day when ev­ery­thing has gone wrong from the mo­ment they stepped out of bed and things are very dif­fer­ent.

Gen­er­ally though, we Ki­wis are happy to smile at com­plete strangers.

When I’m out walk­ing I al­ways smile and say hello to peo­ple I meet. Most of them re­spond in the same way.

Un­like the Russians who are known for their gri­maces rather than their grins. Ap­par­ently in some coun­tries smil­ing is not a sign of warmth or re­spect.

No, it ac­tu­ally ev­i­dence that you are a tricky fool.

That made me won­der why we aren’t al­lowed to smile for pass­port pho­tos. Is it be­cause cus­toms of­fi­cers are all som­bre peo­ple and don’t like looking at smil­ing faces day in and day out? Is it be­cause it makes every­one look like fools? No, there is ac­tu­ally a rea­son for it ac­cord­ing to Mr Google. Ap­par­ently a pass­port has a chip in it con­tain­ing bio­met­ric in­for­ma­tion about you, de­rived from the photo you supplied when you ap­plied for the doc­u­ment.

That im­age is scanned, and key re­la­tion­ships unique to you about you (dis­tance be­tween the eyes, tip of the nose to the chin) are used to gen­er­ate a math­e­mat­i­cal map.

Any­thing that dis­torts or dis­guises those mea­sure­ments — such as a wide smile — re­duces the ef­fec­tive­ness of the al­go­rithms used.

So while smil­ing is good most of the time — some­times it’s just not the done thing.

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