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Gender Differences in Smiling

Gender Differences in Smiling For many years, gender and gender role differences have been extremely popular topics of study in the psychological field. Everyone seems interested in knowing is there is anytruth to the popularized statement and book title, Women are from Venus, Men are fromMars. Studies have found so many differences between men and women it leaves onewondering in what areas are men and women alike. One nonverbal signal that appearsuniversal for men and women is smiling, but research shows that there are genderdifferences within that behavior. Kraut and Johnston (1999) define a smile as the major component of a facial displayassociated with and caused by feelings of happiness or joy. Deutsch, LeBaron and Fryer(1987) found that people who smile more often are viewed as carefree, warm, happy,relaxed and polite. Mackey (1976) stated that a smile is a social signal that offersreassurance, non-hostility or appeasement. Clearly researchers agree that a smile isassociated with positive feelings and emotions, so what is the difference between men andwomen displaying this signal? Halberstadt, Hayes and Pike (1988) offered the explanation that women smile morethan men because smiling is an important part of the nurturing, expressive role that issocially appropriate for women to exhibit. They observed gender differences in smilingduring communication in a laboratory setting. They hypothesized that women wouldsmile more often than men during conversation. They found a significant differencebetween the number of smiles per minute by women (mean = 3.93) and men (mean =1.84). Deutsch, LeBaron and Fryer (1987) conducted a study in which participants ratedpictures of smiling and non-smiling men and women on their perceived personalities. Asexpected, they found that smiling people were rated as more happy, more polite andwarmer than non-smiling people. They also found that non-smiling women were ratedharsher ...

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