Faking A Smile To Be Happier: New Study Suggests It Might Just Be A Myth

First Posted: Nov 04, 2016 05:02 AM EDT

Many people might have heard of the thought on faking a smile to be happier. Such idea came from a 1980s psychological experiment. But here's bad news for those who strongly believe it: In a new study, scientists were not able to find the same results. It suggests the idea may not be true. It might just be a myth after all.

According to Live Science, it was 1988 when the facial-feedback hypothesis started. In a study, participants rated cartoon humor while mimicking either a pout or a smile through holding a pen either with their lips or their teeth. But recently, a 17-lab effort has not find any evidence in the existence of such effect. It involved 1,894 participants and it is said to be the latest failed replication in psychology. Among the other failed replications was the recent finding that willpower may not be a limited resource.

However, it is important to take note that the failure of a thought to hold up a replication did not answer the question if a result is valid or not. Fritz Strack from the University of Würzburg in Germany said that the replication study changed his original experiment; therefore, it was no longer a true replication. This might give the answer why the new study found no evidence on the idea of faking a smile to be happier. Strack is the facial-feedback hypothesis originator.

The aforementioned hypothesis is said to be a compelling finding, for it suggested that the body's movements affect the mood and not just the other way around. As a fact, the thought dates back as far as Charles Darwin who said that those who do violent gestures increase their rage and those who do not control the signs of fear experience it in greater degree.

Meanwhile, Slate reported that how bad the replication failure is depends on one's demeanor. There are many factors to consider. But one thing seems certain: that a particular re-creation of an experiment just didn't work.

Is the idea on faking a smile to be happier merely a myth? As of writing, the new study is said to be not enough to answer the question. In fact, numerous questions remain unanswered.

See Now: NASA's Juno Spacecraft's Rendezvous With Jupiter's Mammoth Cyclone

©2017 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission. The window to the world of science news.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics