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Ideas

Uncommon Knowledge

Smile like your happiness depends on it

And other surprising insights from the social sciences

Smile, you’re on Candid Camera! That seems to be the lesson of a new study by psychologists at the University of Virginia. They found that both male and female freshmen who smiled more intensely in their Facebook profile photos were not only more satisfied with their lives as freshmen, but also more satisfied with their lives several years later as seniors, even controlling for freshman-year life satisfaction and extroversion. The connection between smiling and subsequent life satisfaction appeared to be at least partly explained by the quality of one’s social relationships.

Seder, P. & Oishi, S., “Intensity of Smiling in Facebook Photos Predicts Future Life Satisfaction,” Social Psychological and Personality Science (forthcoming).

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