Social and emotional messages of smiling: An ethological approach

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Abstract

Naturalistic observation at a bowling alley (N = 1,793 balls) shows that bowlers often smiled when socially engaged, looking at and talking to others, but not necessarily after scoring a spare or a strike. In a 2nd study, bowlers (N = 166 balls) rarely smiled while facing the pins but often smiled when facing their friends. At a hockey game, fans (N = 3,726 faces) smiled both when they were socially involved and after events favorable to their team. Pedestrians (N = 663) were much more likely to smile when talking but only slightly more likely to smile in response to nice weather than to unpleasant weather. These 4 studies suggest a strong and robust association of smiling with a social motivation and an erratic association with emotional experience. (29 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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