The Psychology behind a smile

two students sitting in the school cafeteria, boy on the left frowning while having his chin is resting in his hands, girl on the left wearing glasses and smiling. people in the background sitting at a table eating food.

Have any of you ever made eye contact with a stranger and smiled politely? Well this is a pretty common occurrence, but nobody really thinks about why they do it.
A psychology experiment about smiling was conducted by Peace students to figure out which gender was more likely to smile.
When asked which gender do you think is more likely to smile at a stranger and why, students around campus all guessed that women were more likely to smile “Women are just friendlier to strangers” said Ana Maria Cuartas, sophomore.
Other theories included that “women feel obligated to smile as a way of keeping up a socially accepted image” according to senior Kevin Collins, and that “women are allowed to share their feelings publically while men are discouraged from doing so” according to sophomore Emily Banegas.
In the study participants were chosen randomly at the mall. Fifty males and fifty females over the age of eighteen were selected. They had no previous connection to the students who were complete strangers to them.
One student walked around the mall and would catch the eye of random shoppers. Once eye contact was initiated they would smile at them. If the participant responded with a smile (defined as any upward curving of the mouth), another student would mark a check in a gender specific chart. If they did not smile back, an X would be recorded.
After conducting the study it was found that 32% of the observed males smiled back, while 50% of the females smiled back proving the student’s theories. Women did indeed tend to smile more often than men because smiling at complete strangers requires empathy, a quality more commonly attributed to females.
It was also found that women have a higher tendency to smile, and smile fully, than do men. When asked about the topic Marianne LaFrance, a psychology professor at Yale, states that “If you don’t know what to do and you’re a female you smile because you know you’re not making a mistake. If you’re a man, you don’t smile.”
The results of this study match previous research on this topic in the studies “Smile and Gender in Students’ Yearbook: A Cultural Replication” and “The Contingent Smile: A Meta-Analysis of Sex Differences in Smiling”.

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