We all know that smiling faces sometimes tell lies, even without the Motown song there to remind us. But now there’s proof that those fake smiles may not be worth as much as the genuine article.
In a study conducted at Bangor University in Wales, researchers had 36 undergrads play a game in which they won money from four opponents, each of whom would indicate the participants’ wins by displaying either a genuine or a polite smile. In a later phase of the game, participants chose which opponent they wanted to play.
“The really surprising finding was that they preferred genuinely smiling opponents to politely smiling ones even when the politely smiling ones had a greater chance of paying out,” says psychologist Erin Heerey, lead author of the study. “Our research has found that genuine smiles are worth more to us than polite smiles.”
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