Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Smiling makes people look younger!
Want a quick way to look younger? Smile. New research suggests that facial expressions have a big impact on how old we look, with smiles making for a more youthful appearance.
German researchers studied how accurate men and women were at guessing others' ages by having them look at multiple photos of the faces of 171 young, middle-aged, and older people. In some of the photos, the faces were smiling. In others, they had looked angry, fearful, disgusted, or sad - or simply had a neutral expression.
It turned out that the people in the study were most likely to underestimate the age of a person when looking at him/her smiling.
What explains a smile's apparent age-defying effect? The study's lead author offered a couple of possible explanations, msnbc.com reported. First, it can be hard to tell whether the facial wrinkles seen in a smiling face are temporary - the effect of the smile itself - or permanent. Second, smiling may have a sort of "halo effect," meaning we tend to find smiling faces more attractive - and so imbue them with positives effects like youth and may judge them younger than they actually are.
The study - conducted at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin - also showed that people have a harder time judging the age of older individuals. In addition, it showed that older people tend to judge an individual's age less accurately than do older people.