A Smile Really Is Contagious


October 27, 2002
Blog Entry, Brain & Behavior, Health

Scientists in Sweden have figured out why it’s so difficult to keep a straight face if others around you are grinning away. It’s your unconscious mind taking control. The researchers at Uppsala University had volunteers look at pictures of expressionless, happy, and angry faces. In return they were told to adopt blank, happy, or angry expressions. When they had to meet a smile with a frown, or a frown with a smile, they had trouble. Twitching in the subjects’ faces — measured with electronic equipment — indicated they simply didn’t have control of their muscles. It’s believed that there’s a shortcut to the part of the brain that recognizes faces and expressions that bypasses the area responsible for conscious processing.


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46 Responses to A Smile Really Is Contagious

  1. Emory Nicole May 8, 2014 at 6:03 am #

    Thanx!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Hlawuleka Malungana April 6, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    I am in Grade 8 and I’m doing a science project on this topic. I am enjoying every minute of it. As coughing is contagious, then according to my experiment smiling is too!!!!!! A friend walked behind me and recorded the results on a notebook. We recorded the number of people who walked passed us, the number of people we smiled at, the number of people who smiled backed and the number of people who didn’t. It was not a surprise that there was not 1 single person didn’t smile back!!! So I proved that SMILING IS CONTAGIOUS!!!!!

  3. lisette December 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

    Yess…. thx for helping me! This is my project and my friend and I needed the help soo bad CX thxz again! C:

  4. Jessica December 3, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    For those of you looking for a source on this study:
    Sonnby–Borgström, M. (2002), Automatic mimicry reactions as related to differences in emotional empathy. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 43: 433–443.

    I found it in this well sourced article on the effects of smiling:
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201206/there-s-magic-in-your-smile

  5. Christiana October 31, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    wow.

  6. Rusty Craig October 27, 2012 at 6:59 am #

    It’s true that smile, as well as happiness is contagious. So wear a smile and spread it around. You might just brighten someone’s day.

  7. Anoneymous October 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    This so helped me on my science project. Thanks <333

  8. mr. the munch August 28, 2012 at 7:44 am #

    wow annoying words lol

  9. madster March 21, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    i’m in 5th grade and i’m doing this!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My friend is going to walk a couple yeard behind me, and she will have a notebook and i will have a notebook. Since we will pass the same people, she will write down how many people smiled at her and i will do the same. and FYI: its already a universal fact that a positive person will attract another positive person.when you smile at someone,you give off positive emotions which pull at the same energies in the reciving person.

  10. outsource web development January 26, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    This has always been assumed but its noce to have it confirmed at least in part.

  11. NIKOLAI January 2, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT WAS TOOOO HELPFUL
    LOL :-0

  12. my fav color is sparkles December 15, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

    :)me too i am going to video tape myself with my ipad in the mall just walking around with a smile and happy and tape their reactions then display that on my display at the science fair
    p.s i am in 7th grade too:)

  13. The Child December 8, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    This will help my science fair project a bit, but how do I test this? I’m only in 7th grade!!!!

  14. ssalt November 9, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    this iz meh science fair pro thx for dah info :)

  15. Vicky November 4, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    I learned this because of this, and this one time my friend had a sticker that said: “My Smile Is Contagious” ‘She then smiled and I smiled. So that proves it IS contagious

  16. Vicky November 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    Nice! Now, This is officialy my expirement.

  17. effu October 25, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    interesting name

  18. Penis October 25, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    :D THANK YOUUU

  19. fdvrghuifyhgt October 24, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    osi di

  20. Outsource Web Development October 19, 2011 at 6:28 am #

    Grins…. outsource web development

  21. Not me October 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    Wow thx but this is rlly stupid and weird! :PPPPP haha

  22. Liz October 10, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    This has been so helpful!

  23. Nichole September 15, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    This will really help with my Science Fair Project! Thanks!! :)

  24. rain September 8, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    helping with my science fair project as well!!! thx!

  25. Chrisie May 15, 2011 at 6:46 am #

    haha thanks this is aloot of help towards my science fair project! i think mine is gonna be the best one there!

  26. dallen February 15, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    what makes smiling contagious???????????????????????????????
    :):):):):)

  27. Sandy January 8, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    smiles are contagious I can walk up to many people and smile and get an smile back and when I do I feel soooooooooooooooo happy
    ^_^

  28. bob December 2, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    i like this article thing

  29. C. Heredia November 30, 2010 at 6:53 am #

    Hi, My son is actualy doing a science project on smiling and if it is contagious or not. Could you share the info you got from the people that were able to send you links on previous studies anbout this topic?
    here is my email
    endj5@yahoo.com

    Thanks

  30. Demi N November 3, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    You guys are so funny. :D Its helping my science project too.!!!!!!!!!By the way who started this blog, i need to know!!!! NOW!!!!!! hahahahahaha.

  31. haha October 8, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

    makes no sense

  32. Anonymous September 15, 2010 at 7:36 am #

    I think if someone is just smileing at one person it does noy make others around them smile but would make them walk by with a blank face i cant explan why but it just does not have the same effect.

  33. fran June 22, 2010 at 5:47 am #

    ooooh fancy. I am smiling now!!!!! :DDDD :)))) :|||||||||||| ::LLLLLLL:::((((( DDDDD: me not smiling nowww

  34. Anonymous April 7, 2010 at 9:58 pm #

    This was a really great website. Good job. It really helped me with my science project. Thank You very much

  35. Anonymous March 26, 2010 at 9:08 am #

    I am doing a speech about smiling and how it can be contagious. I would like to know, that if someone is just walking around smiling, and the smile is not specially meant for you, that would the effect be the same towards a person and make them smile too? Or would people just not feel as if they’d care to smile.

  36. Anonymous February 15, 2010 at 7:40 am #

    Hey;; Smiling Is Contagious.!!!<3 Or At Least That's What I've Proved From My Science Expirament. Hope I Can Use This As A Back-up Too.;; Thanks.
    -Kimbo

  37. Anonymous November 23, 2009 at 9:43 am #

    It would have been nice to have a reference to the original study so we could read more about the psychology of smiling. I have a student looking for information about whether or not smiling is contageous…this would have been a big help!

  38. Anonymous September 9, 2009 at 8:35 am #

    thanks guys this really helped me on my science project!!

  39. Anonymous July 8, 2008 at 10:21 pm #

    A SMILE costs nothing, but gives much.
    It enriches those who
    receive, without making poorer those who give.
    It takes but a moment,
    but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.
    None is so rich or
    mighty that he can get along without it,
    and none is so poor but that
    he can be made rich by it.
    A smile creates happiness in the home,
    fosters good will in business,
    and is the countersign of friendship.
    It brings rest to the weary,
    cheer to the discouraged,
    sunshine to the sad,
    and is nature’s best antidote for trouble.
    Yet it cannot be
    bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen.
    For it is something that is of no
    value to anyone until it is given away.
    Some people are too tired to give you a smile.
    Give them one of yours,
    as none needs a smile so much as
    he who has no more to give.”
    Outsource Web Development and Designing. http://www.outsource-website-development.com

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