Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Women Smile More Than Men, Except When They Are In Similar Roles

Date:
March 19, 2003
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
Women do smile more than men, but when occupying similar work and social roles, the gender differences in the rate of smiling disappear, a Yale researcher has found.

New Haven, Conn. -- Women do smile more than men, but when occupying similar work and social roles, the gender differences in the rate of smiling disappear, a Yale researcher has found.

Also, there are large differences in the degree to which men smile less than women depending on a person's culture, ethnicity, age, or when people think they are being observed, according to the study funded by the National Science Foundation.

"It would be interesting for social psychologists and anthropologists to look at these data because the wide cultural, ethnic and other differences suggest that the sex difference is not something that is hard-wired," said Marianne LaFrance, professor of psychology at Yale and senior author of the study published this month in the journal Pyschological Bulletin. "This is not a function of being male or female. Each culture overlays men and women with rules about appropriate behavior for men and women."

LaFrance and her co-authors, Elizabeth Paluck of Yale and Marvin Hecht, a graduate student at the time, set out to examine every available study that has been done on sex differences in smiling. Ultimately, they looked at 186 research reports.

They found that women do smile more than men, but the difference is modest. "The difference is there, but it's not whopping," LaFrance said. "Indeed, there are studies that find just the opposite."

Also, the rate at which men and women differ in how much they smile is greater in the United States and Canada than in other parts of the world, like England and Australia. In the United States, there is a greater sex difference among Caucasians in smiling, but this difference virtually disappears among African-Americans.

In terms of age differences, teens show the largest sex difference in smiling. After that, the sexes converge on their smile rates. "We don't know why it maxes out among young adults," LaFrance said. "One possibility is that that is the age when the sexes are supposed to be maximally different from each other, for procreation or social purposes. After that, it's not so important."

The researchers also found that the largest sex differences in smiling occurred when men and women thought they were being observed. They smiled more similarly when they thought no one was looking.

"The logic here is when people know their behavior is being monitored, they more closely adhere to the norms for appropriate behavior for their gender," LaFrance said. "People are at their gendered best when people are looking."

Men and women also smile about the same amount when they are in the same position in terms of power, occupation or social role. Here, LaFrance surmises that the sex differences are overridden by smile norms for the role one is in, rather than with the sex one is.

However, when there is tension in the air, women more often than men try to diffuse it with a smile. "Women do what we call 'emotion work' and one of the best ways to do this is to smile to soothe hurt feelings, to restore harmony," LaFrance said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Women Smile More Than Men, Except When They Are In Similar Roles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/03/030319080920.htm>.
Yale University. (2003, March 19). Women Smile More Than Men, Except When They Are In Similar Roles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/03/030319080920.htm
Yale University. "Women Smile More Than Men, Except When They Are In Similar Roles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/03/030319080920.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins