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Gender Differences in Smiling

I just finished an interview for the Wall Street Journal here is one of the topics I discussed, gender differences in smiling.

Women smile more often socially to be liked and to increase community Men smile less to be perceived as more dominant. Research shows that men who smile less have more testosterone.

A study by Tracy and Beall (2011) in Emotion examined both men’s and women’s sexual attraction to emotions expressed by the opposite sex. By asking men and women to rate the attractiveness of pictures representing different emotions (happiness, pride, shame, neutral) of the opposite sex, the study established that while men are most attracted to happiness expressed by women, women are least attracted to happiness and most attracted to pride expressed by men In a series of studies, more than 1,000 adult participants rated the sexual attractiveness of hundreds of images of the opposite sex engaged in universal displays of happiness (broad smiles), pride (raised heads, puffed-up chests) and shame (lowered heads, averted eyes).

The study found that women were least attracted to smiling, happy men, preferring those who looked proud and powerful or moody and ashamed. In contrast, male participants were most sexually attracted to women who looked happy, and least attracted to women who appeared proud and confident.

"It is important to remember that this study explored first-impressions of sexual attraction to images of the opposite sex,"

Men who smile less LaFrance Paluck Hecht, 2003 examine every available study that has been done on sex differences in smiling. Ultimately, they looked at 186 research reports.

They found that women do smile more than men, but the difference is modest. "The difference is there, but it's not whopping," LaFrance said. "Indeed, there are studies that find just the opposite."  Also, the rate at which men and women differ in how much they smile is greater in the United States and Canada than in other parts of the world, like England and Australia. In the United States, there is a greater sex difference among Caucasians in smiling, but this difference virtually disappears among African-Americans. For more smile research and tools to improve your smile read SNAP Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma.