Turn that frown upside down.
Can a simple smile change your mood? Can a frown bring you down? What does the research suggest?
Scientific psychological research tested a ‘facial feedback hypothesis’ to explore if changes in facial expression could lead to changes in moods.
Participants were given specific instructions and unknowingly, were actually being instructed to either smile or frown. The participants who were smiling, were asked to rate cartoons on how funny they were. Those who had their faces in a smile found the cartoons funnier than those who had their faces in a frown.
Another study asked participants to either smile or frown, then rate their emotional states. Compared to the responses of a control group* who held no facial expressions, those smiling felt happier, and those frowning felt worse.
Participants felt happier than those who weren’t smiling, and participants who were frowning felt worse.
Another scientific psychological study found that smiling lowers your brain temperature and frowning raises your brain temperature through blood flow. Facial expressions can create physiological changes which produce emotional outcomes.
Research suggests a smile can create changes within your body to produce a positive mood change. The same can be said for a frown – but the mood change is negative. So, do try to turn that frown upside down.
It is important to note, psychological research replicating the facial feedback hypothesis has been met with inconsistent results. However, at Helping Minds Online, we believe that if smiling makes you feel better, then we are committed to a happier you. Positive research should be shared.
Control Group – a group of participants in an experiment who are not exposed to the experimental manipulation. The performance of the control group provides an indication of the impact of the experimental manipulation
Burton, L., Westen, D., & Kowalski, R. (2015). Psychology: 4th Australian and New Zealand edition. Milton, Qld: John Wiley & Sons Australia.
Kassin, S., Fein, S., Markus, H.R., McBain, K.A. & Williams, L.A. (2015). Social Psychology: Australian and New Zealand edition. South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage