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If you think smiling can make you look younger, think again. A new study has found that smiling, well, makes a person look older.

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The study conducted by the Western University asked participants to look at photographs of people who were smiling, people who looked neutral, and people with surprised expressions. They were asked the ages of the people in the images, and surprisingly, those who were smiling were perceived to be the oldest. In addition, the people with surprised faces were perceived to look the youngest.

New Study: Smiling Makes You Look Older

Melvin Goodale, one of the study’s co-author, said that smiling is associated with youth and positive values as portrayed in ads. “Think of all the skin-care and toothpaste companies that sell the same idea every day”, Goodale said.

What struck Goodale and the team was that when the participants were asked about their perceptions, they incorrectly recalled the people with the smiling faces as the youngest ones.

They were completely blind to the fact they had ‘aged’ the happy-looking faces. Their perceptions and their beliefs were polar opposites.

Goodale associated the aging effect of smiling to people noticing the wrinkles around the eyes. He also mentioned that when people look surprised, the wrinkles are smoothed out.

On a final note, Goodale stated that the study also showed how people can sincerely believe one thing and then behave completely in a different way which, to him, seems counter-intuitive.

So, if you want to look younger in pictures, try projecting a poker face, or maybe a surprised one.

Sources: Science Daily, Health.com

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