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In a world where everybody is out for themselves, who should we trust? One signal that suggests we are credible is a smile. Genuine smiles send a message that other people can trust and cooperate with us. Individuals who smile are ranked higher in both generosity and extraversion and when individuals share with each other they tend to display real smiles. Economic experts even think about that smiles have a value. In one study by participants were more most likely to trust another person if they were smiling.
This research study found that a smile increased people’s determination to trust by about 10%.
When people do bad things they often smile when they are captured. Is this to their advantage? According to a research study performed, it can be. We deal with individuals who have actually broken the guidelines with more leniency if they smile later on. It does not matter whether it’s an incorrect smile, a miserable smile or a genuine felt smile, they all work to make us wish to provide the criminal a break.
This appears to work due to the fact that we find people who smile after breaking the rules more credible than those who do not.
Did you forget to purchase your partner an anniversary present? Has an essential customer’s name slipped your mind? Have you accidentally kicked a child? If you’ve tripped on a social banana, humiliation is your go-to feeling.
The function of embarrassment is to get us out of tight social areas. The embarrassed smiles we display involve looking down and in some cases we produce a silly little laugh. This is created to elicit fellow-feeling from other individuals so they think less of the slip and forgive us faster. So the ashamed smile assists us get out of prison free( ish). Once again, the power of a smile.
In some cases we smile both due to the fact that it’s courteous and so that we can avoid feeling bad later on. Like when someone excites about how they conserved a little quantity of money with a coupon they found down the back of the sofa. It hardly appears to warrant a smile but you summon one anyhow since it’s courteous. In one study people were asked to stay stony-faced after hearing another person’s good news They felt bad later on and believed the other person would think worse of them as a result. So we nod and smile politely because otherwise we’ll regret it afterwards. Women, though, seem to feel this pressure to smile at the happy news of others more than men.
Smiling is one way to reduce the distress caused by an upsetting situation. Psychologists call this the facial feedback hypothesis. Even forcing a smile when we don’t feel like it is enough to lift our mood slightly (this is one example of embodied cognition). A word of warning: smiling at upsetting things may work but it doesn’t look good to others. When had participants viewing distressing videos, those who smiled felt better afterwards than those who didn’t. But people who smiled at distressing images were judged less likeable by others.
When we’re nervous our attention tends to narrow. We stop noticing what’s going on around the edges and only see what’s right in front of us. This is true in both a literal and a metaphorical sense: when nervous or stressed we’re less likely to notice ideas that are at the edge of our consciousness. But to gain insight into a problem, it’s often precisely these peripheral ideas we need. Cue a smile.
Smiling makes us feel good which also increases our attentional flexibility and our ability to think holistically. When this idea was tested by the results showed that participants who smiled performed better on attentional tasks which required seeing the whole forest rather than just the trees. So a smile really can help give us a burst of insight.
A woman’s smile has a magical effect on men, over and above eye contact. One study examined how men approached women in a bar. When a woman only established eye contact with a man, she was approached 20% of the time. When the same woman added a smile, though, she was approached 60% of the time. When men smile at women, though, the effect is less magical. While smiling increases women’s attractiveness to men, it doesn’t work so well the other way around. Indeed there’s some evidence men look more attractive to women when displaying pride or even shame, than when they look happy. Less smiling makes a man look more masculine.
Psychologists used to think that a genuine smile never lies. Fake smiles involve only the mouth, while real smiles—called Duchenne smiles by psychologists—reach up to the eyes. Recent research, though, suggests that 80% of people can fake the crinkly eyes central to a Duchenne smile. So smiles can be used to hide what we really think, but it’s still not easy to fake a real smile because they have to be timed correctly. A key to a trustworthy smile is that it has a slow onset, i.e. it takes about half a second to spread across the face. One piece of research has found that in comparison to a fast onset smile (about a tenth of a second to spread), slow onset smiles are judged more trustworthy, authentic and even more flirtatious .
We’ve already seen that economists have calculated the value of a smile, but can a smile make us real cash-money? Apparently the broad smile of a waitress can found smiling waitresses made more in tips (there’s no study on waiters). More generally people in service industries, like flight attendants or those in entertainment and hospitality are effectively paid to smile at customers. But, watch out, a constant mismatch between felt and displayed emotion—called emotional labour by psychologists—can be exhausting, possibly leading to job burnout. A smile may make money, but it can also be draining.
One of the simple social pleasures of life, which goes almost unnoticed because it’s automatic, is when you smile at someone and they smile back. As you’ll have noticed, though, not everyone does smile back wanted to see what proportion of people would respond to a smile aimed at them with their own smile. Their results suggest around 50% of people reciprocate. In comparison almost no one responds to a frown with their own frown. Smile for longevity
If none of these studies can coax a smile out of you then consider this:
people who smile more may live longer. A study of pictures taken of baseball players in 1952 suggests those smiling outlived their non-smiling counterparts by seven Now there’s a reason to smile.
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