Psychology: Even a fake smile makes a little bit happy

Science psychology

Even a fake smile makes a little bit happy

Fake smile

The facial feedback hypothesis was studied across countries with almost 4000 participants

Source: Getty Images

Laughter makes you happy and has a positive effect on other people. But can simply shaping the mouth into a smile brighten the mood? Researchers have so far disagreed – and have examined this in a large study.

Dhe tensing of facial muscles, common for a smile, makes people a little bit happier. This was the result of an international study with 3878 participants from 19 countries at the end of last year. Although the effect is small, it is clearly detectable in the statistical evaluation of the measurement results.

In the study, published in the journal “Nature Human Behaviour” has been published, both scientists who took such an effect for granted and those who were skeptical about it were involved. Nicholas Coles of Stanford University (California) led the study.

The facial feedback hypothesis has so far divided psychologists. Some suggested that tensing facial muscles had an effect on related emotions, while others did not. Studies have also yielded different results. Coles stood in a deadlock between proponents and opponents of the hypothesis.

also read

Everyone should ask themselves:

A review study he initiated on the relevant investigations did not produce any clear results. This gave Coles the impetus to organize the international research group Many Smiles Collaboration. The researchers involved agreed on experiments and the conditions for implementation in 19 countries on six continents.

One group of subjects was asked to imitate a smiling actor, another was instructed to pull up the corners of their mouths. A third group had to bite down on a pen without touching it with their lips. Participants were then asked to rate how happy they felt at that moment on a scale from 1 (“not at all”) to 7 (“extremely”).

In fact, the subjects who smiled in some way scored higher on the scale, on average, than those with a neutral facial expression. The effect was statistically clear in the groups with the smiling actor and the raised corners of the mouth, but small – less than one point on the scale. In the group with the pin between the teeth, the effect was so small that it could also be a coincidence. The researchers suspect that in this experiment the muscle tension for “bite” could overlay the constellation for “smile”.

also read

Senior businesswoman using laptop for team meeting video conference

Video conferencing and home office

The effect was noticeable regardless of whether the participants looked at funny pictures during the experiment or not. The study cannot clearly answer the question of whether the findings can be used to improve the mood of patients as part of a therapeutic treatment.

The scientists write: “It is possible that relatively small facial feedback effects can add up to significant changes in well-being over time.”

You can listen to our WELT podcasts here

In order to display embedded content, your revocable consent to the transmission and processing of personal data is required, since the providers of the embedded content as third-party providers require this consent [In diesem Zusammenhang können auch Nutzungsprofile (u.a. auf Basis von Cookie-IDs) gebildet und angereichert werden, auch außerhalb des EWR]. By setting the switch to “on”, you agree to this (which can be revoked at any time). This also includes your consent to the transfer of certain personal data to third countries, including the USA, in accordance with Art. 49 (1) (a) GDPR. You can find more information about this. You can withdraw your consent at any time via the switch and via privacy at the bottom of the page.

“Aha! Ten minutes of everyday knowledge” is WELT’s knowledge podcast. Every Tuesday and Thursday we answer everyday questions from the field of science. Subscribe to the podcast at Spotify, Apple Podcasts, deezer, Amazon Music or directly via RSS feed.

This article was first published in October 2022.

See more here

See also  Caribbean: How dying sea urchins are threatening coral

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *