Smiling can make you look younger: Study

Smiling can make you look younger: Study

Eternal effect

Researchers at Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Germany found that when people looked at photos of happy faces, they guessed the person’s age as younger than in photos of the same person with a neutral or angry expression.

The study, according to the researchers, is the first to show that facial expressions have a major impact on the accuracy and bias of age estimates, reported.
“Although age estimates can often be based on multiple cues, there are many situations in which a picture of a person’s face is the only information that is immediately available,” study author Manuel Voelkle and colleagues said.

“In particular, with the rise of social networks like Facebook, flickr, LinkedIn, it has become common practice to share pictures, often without additional background information,” they wrote in the journal Psychology and Aging.

The researchers said the pictures of happy faces may be misleading because smiling or laughing creates temporary wrinkles around the eyes and mouth. In a photo, it’s harder to find the difference between temporary wrinkles and real ones. In addition, smiling has been shown to make people look more attractive, which may make them appear younger, they said. In the study, 154 participants guessed the age of 171 faces of men and women with various expressions portrayed on a total of 2,052 photographs. Each face displayed either an angry, fearful, disgusted, happy, sad, and neutral expression.

The results showed facial expressions had a big effect on the accuracy of age estimates. Though the age of neutral faces was estimated accurately, the participants underestimated the age of happy or smiling faces by an average of two years. Overall, people found it harder to guess the age of older faces than younger faces. And the older people were, the worse they were at correctly guessing someone’s age.