Think of the old saying, “grin and bear it.” Can forcing a smile really have a positive impact on how people see the world, even to the point of becoming more open-minded? According to new research from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, the answer is yes. The study shows that when bodily expressions are in conflict with one’s actual feelings – such as recalling a happy memory while frowning or listening to sad music while smiling – people become more likely to accept and embrace atypical ideas.
Kellogg researchers Adam Galinsky and Li Huang suggest that this “mind-body dissonance” sends a signal to the brain that something is out of sync and prompts it to break its normal cognitive boundaries.
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