Golle J, Mast FW, Lobmaier JS

This study examined the relationship between emotional expressions and what we find attractive. Researchers conducted two experiments to test the link between happy expressions and attractiveness. First, participants were asked to pick the most attractive person from two simultaneously presented pictures of mophed faces with varying expressions of happiness and attractiveness. Then, participants were given two pictures again, but this time they were asked to pick the happier person. Results showed:

  • The more obvious and grand the smile of the person in the picture, the more they were rated attractive, even compensating for relative unattractiveness
  • If the happier face between the two pictures was also the most attractive, participants had an easier time recognizing it as the happiest