If it takes more muscles to frown than to smile, why do we ‘default’ to frowning?



The expression “It takes more muscles to frown than to smile” if that is true, why do we seem to frown more than smile, considering it takes fewer muscles to smile?

In: Biology

Because it takes less energy to frown because the muscles aren’t contracting. The energy expended in contracting your cheek muscles is greater than the energy of those muscles at rest. For an example, consider your average fresh corpse. Very few smiles because there is no way to maintain the energy expenditure to keep the cheek muscles contracting to pull the lips and cheeks into a smile.

“Number of muscles used” isn’t really the deciding factor in whether we do things. People have all sorts of idle actions that use muscles, such as tapping your foot, drumming your fingers, or jiggling your leg while sitting down.

Another question to be asking is, is it *actually* true that people overall frown more than smile? It probably varies a lot from person to person.

Let your face relax. Use a mirror if it helps. Now frown by pulling the corners of your mouth down. You can do it, right? So your resting face isn’t a frown, because it’s different. Now smile, because you learned something new. 🙂