Smiling is contagious and a great laugh can lighten the mood of the hardest personality in the room. The question is, who do we smile at and laugh with more? The same or opposite sex?
The findings of a recent study are, in a way, surprising. It focuses on three reasons why we smile: sexual advertisement (“I’m looking for my next man”), social competition (“I’m the queen bee ‘round here”), and social cooperation (“Volunteering is fun”). All in all, the study states that smiling is beneficial for the individual doing the smiling and those around them; the smiles themselves vary depending on circumstance. Younger girls seem to smile and laugh more than older women and with men, age doesn’t seem to matter. Same sex groups smile and laugh together more than mixed, this is especially true with men; I guess dudes like to bro-out with each other.
In terms of sexual advertisement, when a mixed sex group of youngsters (below 35) were together, there was more spontaneous smiling and laughing than an older mixed gender group. The reason for this is most likely courtship; we’re constantly (unintentionally or not) seeking out a potential mate and this starts at an early age. With competition, the larger the group, the more smiles and laughs perhaps this was because we tend to abide by a social hierarchy unknowingly, so there’s constant vying for first place. Older men smiled more in groups with younger individuals. With cooperation, men smiled more at other men and women showed no preference. We all understand that we have to work together on projects; this could be a natural response to individuals.
Again, smiles are contagious and they truly lighten the mood of those smiling and those around them. Let’s face it, a smile makes someone feel inviting, trustworthy, confident, and sexy even. Sometimes it matters who you are smiling at and why, but more often than not it really doesn’t. Did you smile a lot when you were younger? You might be a happier person!