Smile! You’ll Look Younger

Forget Botox to make you look younger.  New research suggests that the mere act of smiling makes you look younger than you are.

NewsMaxHealth writes that the Institute for Human Development (Max Planck Institute) in Berlin has published a study, in Psychology and Aging and the journal of Emotion Cognition, that found that smiling makes people look more attractive and therefore younger.

The study included 154 German men and women of various ages.  The participants were asked to examine more than 2,000 photographs of 171 people and then estimate their age.

The study’s findings purport that, “Facial expressions had a substantial impact on accuracy and bias of age estimation.  Relative to other facial expressions, the age of neutral faces was estimated most accurately, while the age of faces displaying happy expressions was most likely underestimated.” 

CBSNews.com also recounts the lead authors explanations for why a smile makes a person look younger.  One could be that the wrinkles associated with smiling are just temporary rather than from aging.  The “halo effect” should also be taken  into account.  Our tendency to find smiling faces more attractive leads to the embodiment of positives such as youthfulness.

In a related article by PsychCentral, being happy can lead us to be healthier and to live longer.  This seems to be the case across most cultures.   So, there is not just the reason that you’ll look young to smile, but you’ll feel younger and healthier too.

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