September 30, 2014

Smile = Get Out Of Jail Free Card?

Yes indeed! Or at least give you a more lenient sentence from the authorities.

According to a research done in 1995, subjects who smiled usually ended up with a less severe reprimands than those who didn't (especially on minor issues)--even though they weren't seen as being less guilty. The reason being that a person who smiles appears to be more trustworthy fore we appear more sociable, attractive, and therefore more likable.

As you can see, smiles can be used for far more things than just a warning instead of a ticket, for example.

Smiles have been found to:

  1. increase people's willingness to trust you by ~10%;
  2. reduce any distress felt (at embarrassing yourself in front of others, say) -- though smiling at things inappropriately might make you feel better, but it won't endear you to others;
  3. and reduces stress so you can think about a problem better;
  4. it can also improve your poker face (if done well);
  5. get bigger tips;
  6. 50% of the time you're likely to get others to respond in kind;
  7. and you could prolong your lifespan as well!
  8. Besides, smiling makes you feel good, so why not practice it more often?
And for you ladies, a little smile when feeling "in the mood" will heighten your chances up to 60%! (Sorry guys, apparently this is more of a one-way street...)

So go on ahead, grab your mirror and start practicing!

Research Gate


  1. Yes, yes, I can totally see that. The older I get, the more clear it is to me how silly and biased we are in our everyday behavior. Judges and juries swayed by the power of smile seem to me less incredible than millions of people swayed by TV preachers.

    One of the benefits (??) of having been raised in a so-called Communist country (maybe one day I will explain why I write "so-called") is that on principle I do not believe that any human behaviors are sincere. I always think first "Why is she smiling at me? She is out to con me with her smile." So I distrust smiling people. But then I realize that the smiling people did not go through the "communist" mimicry school, and grudgingly accept that maybe the smiling person is sincere.

    1. Hahahahahaha! Does that mean you never trusted me as your student? :)
      I have a tendency to smile, unless I'm super focused on something, in which case I apparently give the evil eye...
      It's interesting that in a "so-called" Communist country people are taught to smile when they don't mean to at all times. Do you think it would also be the case in any militarized region where anything you do/say could be held against you?
      I remember reading Clan of the Cave Bear (about people living in prehistoric times, so way too early for Communism (although perhaps societies back then veered more towards that end for survival?), and the heroine learned from her fellow compatriots how to read body language perfectly, in all its subtleties, because they didn't speak much, just lots of grunting (because she was with Neanderthals instead of Homo Sapiens Sapiens). Then when she later finds herself with regular sapiens, she's amazed at how much they lie with their mouths when the rest of their bodies betray them.