Smiling is attractive in women, but in guys — not so much.
An intriguing new study done by psychologists in Vancouver has found that when it comes to attracting women, happy-looking men may finish last.
“There are major differences in the ways emotions affect attractiveness in the two genders,” lead author Jessica Tracy told Metro. “When women smile and show happiness, men find that the most attractive. When men smile and show happiness, women find that the least attractive.”
Tracy, who is a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, along with graduate student Alec Beall, undertook two studies which included a total of 1,041 people. Subjects were shown hundreds of photographs of the opposite sex displaying either happiness (big smile), pride (puffed-out chest), shame (head down) or neutrality (no expression). The photo viewers were asked, “How attractive do you find this person?”
Results indicated women were most attractive showing happiness and least attractive showing pride. Men were most attractive when showing pride and least sexy showing happiness. Surprisingly, among young women looking at photographs, even men showing shame were more attractive than men showing happiness.
What’s wrong with smiling men? It could be that since men are assumed to be sexually receptive, when they smile, they seem needy or desperate. Women prefer the bad-boy look.
“Men who show pride are tough, strong and powerful and women find that attractive,” says Tracy.
Since the study involved photos, it only reflects people’s first impressions.
“In dating there are lots of other things at play,” says Tracy. “It may be relevant only in situations where you only show a photo, such as online dating.”
Future studies will explore gay reactions.