wisdom is that smiling makes you appear younger, researchers at Ben-Gurion
University of the Negev and Western University in Canada have scientifically
According to the
findings, published in the May 8th edition of Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, the
researchers show for the first time that people flashing those pearly whites
are perceived as older than those with a deadpan or surprised expression.
“Popular media promotes
the idea that smiling makes you look younger,” says Prof. Tzvi Ganel, head of
the Laboratory for Visual Perception and Action in BGU’s Department of Psychology. “Look at all of the smiling faces
in skincare and dental ads. How many of us post smiling faces on social media?”
conducted a series of experiments intended to gauge age perception based on
facial expressions. Forty BGU student participants were shown images of people
and asked to rank them from oldest to youngest. They were shown pictures of
smiling faces, neutral expressions and surprised looks. The participants ranked
the smiling faces as the oldest, followed by neutral expressions, and surprised
expressions as the youngest.
What’s more, when asked
to recall their reactions after the experiment, study participants erroneously
remembered identifying smiling faces as being younger than neutral ones.
discovered that the same person can believe that smiling makes you appear
younger and judge smiling faces older than neutral ones,” says co-author Prof.
Melvyn Goodale, director of the Brain and Mind Institute at Western University
The researchers believe that smiling makes a person
look older because of the wrinkle lines that form around the eyes. A surprised
face, however, lifts and pulls the skin backward, smoothing any potential
Above: Diagrams from article