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Sincere Smiling Promotes Longevity

Posted on March 12, 2010, 6 a.m. in Behavior Longevity

Study finds that genuine smilers live longer.

Facial expressions are a barometer of the emotions , and like emotions, they vary in form and intensity. “Duchenne smilers”, who engage muscles both near the corners of the mouth and around the eyes, are known as genuine smilers.  Ernest L. Abel , from Wayne State University (Michigan, USA), and colleagues, link smile intensity to longevity.  The researchers asked scientists trained to analyze smiles, to review vintage photographs of 230 major league baseball players of the 1952 season. The team classified each player’s smiles, as non-smilers, Duchenne smilers, and non-Duchenne smilers. Then the team retrieved data relating to how long-lived the 184 players who had already died were. Of the deceased players, Duchenne smilers tended to live the longest, followed by non-Duchenne smilers.   Further, 70% of Duchenne smilers lived to age 80, as compared to 50% of non-smilers who survived to that age.

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 Ernest L. Abel , Michael L. Kruger.  “Smile Intensity in Photographs Predicts Longevity.”  Psychological Science, February 26, 2010; doi: 10.1177/0956797610363775.

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