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Photo: ChocoPie (Shutterstock) “I never smile if I can help it,” Dunder Mifflin Assistant (to the) Regional Manager Dwight Schrute tells the camera in an episode of The Office . “Showing one’s teeth is a submission signal in primates. When someone smiles at me, all I see is a chimpanzee begging for its life.” But there’s a large body of research that says otherwise—or at least that there are multiple messages that can be conveyed through a smile. In fact, a 2017 study grouped human smiles into three broad categories, and submission isn’t one of them. Dominance, however, is. But how, exactly, does one smile dominantly? Here’s what you need to know. Why do humans smile? Understanding why humans smile has long been the subject of behavioral research, and for good reason: Though we most closely associate smiling with happiness or enjoyment, that’s only the beginning. The facial expression communicates a wide range of other functions, including embarrassment, discomfort, and politeness. In fact, the human smile is so versatile that researchers have grouped its use into three categories: Reward smiles, affiliation smiles and dominance smiles. Reward smiles are exactly what they sound like: A clear message to someone (or something) that we are happy, enjoying, or pleased with the thing they just did. Affiliation smiles are similar, but the person smiling isn’t reacting to something in particular. And finally, dominance smiles are used to signal to someone else that we’re in control and have power (or at least want […]