Broader smile, longer life: study

Mar 24, 2010
The broader your smile and the deeper the creases around your eyes when you grin, the longer you are likely to live, according to a study published in Psychological Science this week.

The broader your smile and the deeper the creases around your eyes when you grin, the longer you are likely to live, according to a study published in Psychological Science this week.

Researchers led by Ernest Abel of Wayne State University in Michigan studied 230 photographs of US major league baseball players who started playing before 1950 and grouped them according to their smiles.

The players were rated as "no smile" if they were just looking deadpan at the camera; as "partial smile" if only the muscles around the mouth were involved in their grin; or as "full smile" if the mouth and eyes were smiling and the cheeks were both raised.

The players' pictures were taken from the 1952 Baseball Register, a listing of professionals that is packed with statistics such as year of birth, , and career length, which reflects .

The wealth of statistics allowed the researchers to control for other factors that could affect .

Of the players who had died as of June 1 last year, those in the no-smile category lived for an average of 72.9 years, those with partial smiles -- just the mouth involved -- died at age 75, while the full-smile players lived to the ripe old age of 79.9 on average, the study showed.

"To the extent that smile intensity reflects an underlying emotional disposition, the results of this study are congruent with those of other studies demonstrating that emotions have a positive relationship with mental health, and ," the study says.

It was unclear, the authors said, if the baseball players had smiled spontaneously or if their grins were produced under orders from a photographer.

But, in any case, far fewer individuals had full smiles -- 23 -- than partial or no smiles (64 and 63 respectively), which indicated to the researchers that even if smiles were produced on request, their intensity reflected the player's "general underlying disposition."

So the conclusion could be, if you want to live a long, happy life: hit the books, hit the ball and grin in a way that gives you crow's feet.

Explore further: Researchers study happiness of children in different family compositions

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Patients, dentists differ on smile ratings, JADA study

Dec 10, 2007

People rate their smiles higher than dentists do, according to a new study. Teeth and eyes rated as the most important features of an attractive face, the study also found, and people younger than age 50 were most satisfied ...

Average major league career: 5.6 years

Jul 10, 2007

U.S. researchers say the average career of a major league baseball player is 5.6 years, with 1-in-5 position players having only a single-year career.

Recommended for you

Take notes by hand for better long-term comprehension

4 hours ago

Dust off those Bic ballpoints and college-ruled notebooks—research shows that taking notes by hand is better than taking notes on a laptop for remembering conceptual information over the long term. The ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

designmemetic
5 / 5 (1) Mar 25, 2010
How did they test the causality? maybe people who enjoy good health are happier and smile more because they aren't in physical pain, discomfort, or worried about there survival.

More news stories

Autism Genome Project delivers genetic discovery

A new study from investigators with the Autism Genome Project, the world's largest research project on identifying genes associated with risk for autism, has found that the comprehensive use of copy number variant (CNV) genetic ...

Team reprograms blood cells into blood stem cells in mice

Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have reprogrammed mature blood cells from mice into blood-forming hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), using a cocktail of eight genetic switches called transcription factors. The reprogrammed ...

Study links California drought to global warming

While researchers have sometimes connected weather extremes to man-made global warming, usually it is not done in real time. Now a study is asserting a link between climate change and both the intensifying California drought ...