Bigger smiles on Facebook pages have been linked to future satisfaction and happiness. Other studies connect bigger smiles to greater longevity.
A new study published recently is bound to send everyone back to their Facebook profiles to check out their smiles. It seems those with the biggest smiles turn out to be the happiest.
In this latest study, published in the October 2011 issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers looked at the Facebook profiles of first-year college students to analyze their facial expressions.
They determined smile intensity by using visually detectable facial muscle-action. Those with the most intense smiles in their first-year Facebook profile reported greater life satisfaction than those who either didn’t smile or whose smiles were less intense. They also had better social relationships during their first semester of college.
What seems to strengthen the smile to happiness ratio was the response of these same students in their graduating year nearly four years later. When they were surveyed by researchers, they were more likely to report high levels of contentedness.
Previous studies have revealed that smile intensity in childhood photographs and school yearbooks correlates with marriage stability and satisfaction. And in another study, smiling faces were linked to longevity. Taken at face value, these reports show that a full-on smile leads to an extra five to eight years of—happy—life.
That smiling face won’t get you a passport, but it may just get you some added years—of happiness.