Malcom Gladwell’s "Blink"…what we know without knowing!

All the smiles are related
to Amelia. Do they feel good because they are smiling or are they smiling because they feel good?

Did you know that the smile on your face could actually be what makes you feel good and not the other way around? Is this the case of the tail wagging the dog or is this just a wonderful concept to add to the arsenal we use to control our emotions?

According to the author of blink, Malcolm Gladwell, the smile may be the cause of the emotion…at least part of the time. When he was researching the book on “The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” he interviewed a scientist named Paul Elkman. It seems that Elkman along with Wallace Friesen (Unmasking the Face by Paul Ekman and Wallace V. Friesen) came up with a taxonomy of facial expressions. They began dissecting each facial muscle and learn to control it, putting all the information together in order to understand the root of emotional expressions in our face. What they found out was when they recreated the facial expression for worry, they actually felt emotionly down on that day. When they recreated sadness, or concern, or any of the 3000 facial expressions that denote emotions, they would, on many occasions, actually feel that emotion.

So, you say, why should I care. Well I think this is why. If we can look happy, even when we do not possible feel that way, might we not change our emotional state. Isn’t it possible that depression might be alleviated by a “forced smile”, a small turn up at the corners of our mouth. I don’t know which come first…the chicken or the egg…but I do know that I can, in most cases, tell if a person is feeling depressed or extremely stressed by simply looking at the corners of their mouth. Just take a good look at Sarah Palin when she deals with the press. This is a very stressful time for her.

blink, a book about “rapid cognition“, holds so many other insights that I cannot even begin to list them. I thought the Chapter called Paul Van Riper’s Big Victory (find online account on along with Gladwell’s afterword may well be most stunning parts of the book. I cannot summarize or interpret it. You just need to read it yourself.

Do I recommend blink? You bet your life I do. I was so late reading it. It came out in 2005 and the afterword was published in 2007. Malcolm Gladwell, in this book and in Tipping Point, has give us two book that touch on our everyday lives. They are in my library of books I go to when I need information on the human mind and how it works.
I give them both FIVE STARS!


technorati tags:

Rapid Cognition


3 thoughts on “Malcom Gladwell’s "Blink"…what we know without knowing!

  1. i learned at a young age,, no matter how you feel on the outside,, you slap a smile on your face and go… outward appearances were of the utmost importance,, still are in my moms house…and even tho i am not doing it to look happy,, i have found that if i look happy,, i attract happy,, and that is what brings happiness my way more often then not….

  2. I remember years ago, in the show Ally McBeal, John – one of the other attorneys – was taking “smile therapy”. The philosophy of which was to smile when you feel the least like it, and you’ll feel better. It was a great storyline because periodically, when there was something really intense happening, a great big smile would spread across John’s face.I definitely believe it to be true. Further, I believe that if you truly are a generally happy person, you “attract happy” as Paisley said.

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