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What We Know About Facial Expressions

What We Know About Facial Expressions

What We Know About Facial Expressions

Smiling, frowning, poker face—there’s quite a variety of different facial expressions we all make on a daily basis. Most of us have been taught to smile as often as possible to appear approachable and bring a bit of positive energy to our surroundings. If you’re like us, you tend to be drawn to people who are smiling more often. What’s not to enjoy about a smiling face? Recently, there have been some studies done in regards to facial expressions and as it turns out, what we’ve been thinking all along may be wrong. Here’s what we know about facial expressions now.

Are You Older If You Smile More?

Watching advertisements on television, seeing them on billboards and the pages of magazines it’s pretty much a guarantee that you’re going to see the individuals in the ads smiling. Smiling, and giving a happy facial expression has typically been one that’s been looked at as an approachable one. Most of us have believed that smiling can help us to appear more youthful, as well. However, recently the Pscyhonomic Bulletin and Review did some research on facial expressions and our association with them in regards to age. Essentially, the journal’s research found that the majority of people think those that smile are (on average) two years older than they actually are. Interesting, right? 

Expression Lines and Wrinkles

The researchers aren’t exactly sure WHY people assume others are older based on a smiling facial expression. However, they believe it may have something to do with the fact that most of us have lines and wrinkles that become more dominant when we make a smiling facial expression. This being said, there have been other studies done in the past that show the opposite in results for facial expressions. 

You Only Live Once Anyway

So what does this really tell us? While it’s always interesting to learn about different studies and research that’s done around this topic (because let’s be honest, we’re all eager to learn about things that may affect how old we look), we think that giving the expression and energy of being happy, energetic and approachable is much more powerful. It’s easy to get caught up in doing things, or not doing things, with our facial expressions in fear that we may appear older. But truthfully, that can get daunting! Live your life in an enjoyable way, because when you express yourself in a way that’s authentic to you and how you feel others are going to be drawn to you. 

You know those people you meet that tend attract other people like magnets? It’s usually because they’re confident, appearing approachable, and being authentic to themselves. So we say if smiling is something that makes you feel good, and feels natural-keep grinning! Try not to overthink your facial expressions, and just do what feels best to you. 

So, what do you think of the new study around facial expressions? Do you think people appear older or younger when they smile? We’d love to hear YOUR thoughts on this topic.