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Superficial is an adjective generally meaning "regarding the surface", often metaphorically. Both in the literal as in the metaphorical sense the term has often a negative connotation based on the idea that deeper parts are also important to consider.
- In human anatomy, superficial describes objects near the body's surface as compared to other objects that may be deep. For example, skin is a superficial structure of the body and muscles are deep to skin. In addition, superficial muscles are those which are just under the skin; often, the shape and size of such has an effect on a person's appearance.
- A superficial, or alternatively, an "over-simplified" argument is prone to many logical fallacies: including hasty generalization, division, composition and many others.
- A person who exhibits a "superficial" comprehension of some or many subjects may be negatively attributed as being shallow, materialistic, and even exhibiting false emotions through an exaggerated affect display. Occasionally they may be pseudo-intellectual.
- In terms of emotion, superficial is used in a number of ways to refer principally to a display of emotion which is not necessarily genuine. For example, to display 'superficial charm' refers to someone who externally appears genuine and charming yet is intentionally appearing so, perhaps for personal gain.