You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but a new study suggests you can judge future happiness by a Facebook photo.
Reporting in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers find that smile intensity from a single profile picture can predict how satisfied a person will be with their life nearly four years later. The insight to future well-being replicates a link revealed in earlier research with formal portraits, sparking renewed interest in the information coded in human faces.
Across two studies, psychologists from the University of Virginia found that men and women who flashed “intense” smiles in their first-semester Facebook profile photos reported greater life satisfaction than those who didn’t. More importantly, those same students were likelier to report high levels of contentedness during their last semester of college, fully 3 1/2 years later.
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