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Be Careful Where You Smile: Culture Shapes Judgments of Intelligence and Honesty of Smiling Individuals

  • Smiling individuals are usually perceived more favorably than non-smiling ones—they are judged as happier, more attractive, competent, and friendly. These seemingly clear and obvious consequences of smiling are assumed to be culturally universal, however most of the psychological research is carried out in WEIRD societies (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic) and the influence of culture on social perception of nonverbal behavior is still understudied. Here we show that a smiling individual may be judged as less intelligent than the same non-smiling individual in cultures low on the GLOBE’s uncertainty avoidance dimension. Furthermore, we show that corruption at the societal level may undermine the prosocial perception of smiling—in societies with high corruption indicators, trust toward smiling individuals is reduced. This research fosters understanding of the cultural framework surrounding nonverbal communication processes and reveals that in some cultures smiling may lead to negative attributions.

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Author:Kuba Krys, Christin-Melanie Vauclair, Colin A. Capaldi, Vivian Miu-Chi Lun, Michael Harris BondGND, Alejandra Domínguez-Espinosa, Claudio TorresGND, Ottmar V. Lipp, L. Sam S. Manickam, Cai Xing, Radka Antalíkova, Vassilis Pavlopoulos, Julien Teyssier, Taekyun Hur, Karolina HansenORCiDGND, Piotr SzarotaGND, Ramadan A. Ahmed, Eleonora Burtceva, Ana Chkhaidze, Enila Cenko, Patrick DenouxGND, Márta Fülöp, Arif HassanGND, David O. Igbokwe, İdil Işık, Gwatirera JavangweGND, María Malbran, Fridanna Maricchiolo, Hera Mikarsa, Lynden K. Miles, Martin Nader, Joonha Park, Muhammad Rizwan, Radwa Salem, Beate Schwarz, Irfana Shah, Chien-Ru Sun, Wijnand van Tilburg, Wolfgang WagnerGND, Ryan Wise, Angela Arriola Yu
Parent Title (English):Journal of Nonverbal Behavior
Publisher:Springer US
Place of publication:New York [u.a.]
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2016
Date of Publication (online):2019/07/03
Tag:Corruption; Culture; Honesty; Intelligence; Smile; Uncertainty avoidance
GND Keyword:Ethnopsychologie; Kulturvergleich; Lächeln; Soziale Wahrnehmung
First Page:101
Last Page:116
DDC classes:100 Philosophie und Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 400 Sprache, Linguistik
Open Access?:ja
Linguistics-Classification:Nonverbale Kommunikation
Licence (English):License LogoCreative Commons - Attribution 4.0 International