A team of researchers at the University of South Australia inferred that to put on a happy face is to influence our emotions for the better. The study is published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.
The researchers collected data from 3878 participants across 19 countries. They examined three well-known methodologies related to feeling happy. These include mimicking facial expressions seen in photographs, moving the corners of mouths to cheeks, and using the ‘pen-in-mouth’ technique which moves the facial muscles in a simulated smile shape.
The results revealed that putting a willing smile on our faces can make us feel a little brighter and happier. The study confirms that sometimes happiness is a state of mind that can be induced by free will.
One of the lead researchers, Dr. Marmolejo-Ramos, elaborated: “The concept of being able to influence our emotions by simply moving our facial muscles has long been debated by researchers, but until now, no test or theory has been globally agreed upon. While individuals naturally respond differently to adverse situations, it’s encouraging to think that we can sway our emotions by simply putting on a happy face.”
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Coles, N. A., March, D. S., Marmolejo-Ramos, F., Larsen, J. T., Arinze, N. C., Ndukaihe, I. L. G., Willis, M. L., Foroni, F., Reggev, N., Mokady, A., Forscher, P. S., Hunter, J. F., Kaminski, G., Yüvrük, E., Kapucu, A., Nagy, T., Hajdu, N., Tejada, J., Freitag, R. M. K., Zambrano, D., … Liuzza, M. T. (2022). A multi-lab test of the facial feedback hypothesis by the Many Smiles Collaboration. Nature human behaviour, 10.1038/s41562-022-01458-9. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-022-01458-9