Jeff Glor talks to Marianne LaFrance about "Lip Service," her revealing book about the science of smiles.
Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write this book?
Marianne LaFrance: One of the wonders of my childhood was my mother's ability to tell what was going on between people just by watching them. That began my fascination with the minutia of social interaction, especially how and why people smile. Much later as an experimental social psychologist I had collected a substantial pile of interesting research findings that begged to be heard by a larger audience than those few research psychologists who were interested in facial expression and subscribed to scientific journals.
JG: What surprised you most during the writing?
ML: As a researcher who has mostly written papers for scientific journals, I found it surprising how difficult it was to lose the scientific jargon, the obsessive detail, and the preoccupation with methodology and write in a way that an ordinary person would still appreciate the science supporting the discoveries.
JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?
ML: Mostly everything that I am already doing. My life as a college professor involves conducting research, teaching, supervising graduate students, advising undergrads, and sitting on endless committees.
JG: What are you reading right now?
ML: "State of Wonder" by Ann Patchett, "Started Early, Took My Dog" by Kate Atkinson, "I is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It shapes the Way We See the World" by James Geary.
For more on Lip Service, visit the W.W. Norton website.