Read the following joke:


There were two cows in a field. One said, “Moo.”

The other one said “I was going to say that.”



Now read the following version of the same joke:


There were two ducks sitting in a pond. One of the ducks said, “Quack.”

The other duck said, “I was going to say that.”


Which is the funnier version?

The British Association for the Advancement of Science discovered that invariably people choose the “duck” version. Why? It is due to a rather odd psychological phenomenon known as “facial feedback.” When people feel happy they smile, but research suggests that the mechanism also works in reverse: smiling makes people feel happy. In our “duck” joke the hard “k” sound in quack forces the face to smile (say “quack”), which explains why most people choose the duck joke the funnier of the two. Their facial expression makes it seem funnier.

Here’s an experiment you can conduct on yourself to test facial feedback and its effects. First hold a pencil between your lips without it touching your lips, forcing you to smile. Hold it for five to ten minutes and you’ll find yourself becoming happier. The longer you hold it the happier you get.

Next hold the pencil with your lips (not using your teeth) forcing a frown for the same length of time. This time you’ll find yourself becoming sadder. The longer you hold it the sadder you get.

Discover for yourself how you can create your emotions simply by changing your facial expressions.