Effects of a smile on mood and helping behavior

Anneke Vrugt1, Carolijn Vet1
1University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Cite this article:  Vrugt, A., & Vet, C. (2009). Effects of a smile on mood and helping behavior. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 37, 1251-1258.

Volume 37 Issue 9 | e1938 | Published: October 2009 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2009.37.9.1251

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In this study 480 native Dutch passers-by (240 men and 240 women) were approached with a request to participate in an investigation. The request was made by either a female or male experimenter wearing either a smile or a neutral expression. Results showed that a smiling experimenter elicited a smile from participants more often than when a neutral expression was displayed. Furthermore, there was a distinct correlation between a participant’s smiling and his/her willingness to help, and a smile from a male experimenter was more likely to elicit helpfulness than from a female experimenter. Participants who agreed to help also answered a few written questions. These results showed that participants who received a smile from an experimenter were in a more positive mood than those who were approached by an experimenter wearing a neutral expression. It was also found that women smiled more often than men.

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