Say Cheese

Written by Science Knowledge on 1:26 AM

Kids’ smiles predict their future marriage success

Pictures of grinning kids may reveal more than childhood happiness: a study from DePauw University shows that how intensely people smile in childhood photographs, as indicated by crow’s feet around the eyes, predicts their adult marriage success. According to the research, people whose smiles were weakest in snapshots from childhood through young adulthood were most likely to report being divorced in middle and old age. Among the weakest smilers in college photographs, one in four ended up divorcing, compared with one in 20 of the widest smilers. The same pattern held among even those pictured at an average age of 10.

The paper builds on a 2001 study by psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley, that tracked the well-being and marital satisfaction of women from college through their early 50s. That work found that coeds whose smiles were brightest in their senior yearbook photographs were most likely to be married by their late 20s, least likely to remain single into middle age, and happiest in their marriage; they also scored highest on measures of overall well-being (including psychological and physical difficulties, relationships with others and general self-satisfaction).

The scientists speculate that one’s tendency to grin—an example of what psychologists call “thin slices” of behavior that can belie personal traits—reflects his or her underlying emotional disposition. Positive emotionality influences how others respond to a person, perhaps making that individual more open and likely to seek out situations conducive to a lasting, happy marriage. But there could be a more cynical explanation, according to Matthew Hertenstein, a psychologist at DePauw who led the new study. “Maybe people who look happier in photos show a social face to others,” he says. “Those may be the same people who are likely to put up with partners because they don’t want to appear unhappy.”


Source of Information : Scientific American Mind September-October 2009

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In its broadest sense, science (from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") refers to any systematic knowledge or practice. In its more usual restricted sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on scientific method, as well as to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research.

Fields of science are commonly classified along two major lines: natural sciences, which study natural phenomena (including biological life), and social sciences, which study human behavior and societies. These groupings are empirical sciences, which means the knowledge must be based on observable phenomena and capable of being experimented for its validity by other researchers working under the same conditions.


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