All posts tagged: stories

A Million Smiles: From war torn wreckage to bustling metropolises, Mike Worsman searches for a smile

The Mills Longitudinal Study at UC Berkeley was a 50 year investigation of the wellbeing and social development of a group of women since graduating from the college. The initial study examined the smiles from photos of 20-something year old women in their college yearbook in order to measure any favourable outcomes in their lives many years later. Only the Duchenne Smile was considered as it sees the corners of the mouth and cheeks raised, and crow’s feet formed at our brow. Essentially the Duchenne Smile is our physiological expression of true happiness. What the study posited was that emotional tendencies are believed to shape personality and the life course of their influence on cognitive, behavioral and social processes. 30 years later, the study found that positive emotional expression in their college yearbook photos related to stable aspects of personality change in certain traits over time, observers’ judgement of the women’s personalities and their responses to those women, and life outcomes measured up to 30 years later. In fact, over time, those who expressed more …

Hearts and Minds: Friendship and Beautiful Books for Child Detainees

On the Befriend a Child in Detention community project “When the child detainees realised there were letters inside the books, there were tears all round. They said that they were not forgotten and that Australians don’t all hate us,” says Dr June Factor, convenor and founder of the Befriend a Child in Detention project. “In July we sent four boxes of beautiful new children’s books to the children in the detention centre on Nauru, and every book included a letter – a greeting and encouragement of friendship. There were also stamped addressed envelopes, in the hope that some asylum seeker children might write back. Some of the letters and envelopes were from adults and many were from children. We know that a number of people – including 17 children from one school – have received letters from the children detained on Nauru.” Since then, says Dr Factor, more books and letters have gone to Nauru, and to every asylum seeker detention centre on the Australian mainland. Befriend a Child in Detention is a community project which aims …