Navigation Links
Big Smiles, Longer Lives?

Folks with widest grins in photos outlived others, suggesting happiness extends life

FRIDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- If you're always the one in the photo flashing the biggest smile, a new study suggests you can count on living a long life.

Researchers from Wayne State University in Detroit evaluated the photographs of 230 Major League Baseball players who started playing before 1950, rating their smiles as nonexistent to full.

"People who had the most intense smiles lived the longest, compared to the other two," said Ernest L. Abel, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and of psychology at Wayne State.

"The more intense smile, we infer, indicates an underlying happiness, if you will, a more positive attitude," he said. "It's hard to fake an intense smile."

The researchers gathered other information potentially linked with longevity from a longstanding data base on the players, such as college attendance, marital status, birth year and body-mass index.

They asked reviewers who didn't know the study's purpose to rate the player's smiles as a 1, 2, or 3, with 1 being no smile, 2 a partial, and 3, a broad full smile, the kind that makes your eyes crinkle.

As of June 1, 2009, all but 46 players had died, and they looked back to see if the smile intensity in photos was linked with longer life. It was.

On average, the longevity of the non-smilers was 72.9, 75 for the partial smilers and 79.9 for the big smilers.

The study was recently published in Psychological Science Online First.

The big smilers had what is known as a Duchenne smile, named after the French neurologist who discovered it. Cheeks and the corners of the mouth are raised, and crows-feet wrinkles appear around the eyes.

After Abel and his team controlled for variables such as marital status, birth year and body-mass index, they found the smile-longevity link still held. Those with the biggest smile were half as likely to die in a given year than the nonsmilers. But in this regard, broad smilers didn't differ significantly from partial smilers.

Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox -- "a big smiler," Abel said -- died at 83.

But Bill Kennedy, who played for Cincinnati and other teams, died at 62, and Abel say he didn't have a big grin in the photos he looked at.

The new research builds on previous studies that linked smile intensity in childhood and college yearbook photos with marriage stability or life satisfaction later.

The study findings make sense to Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, and a happiness researcher who wrote The How of Happiness. "Most likely, the smiles are an indicator of the baseball players' dispositions," she said. The smiles could be reflecting happiness, optimism or resilience, she said.

Experts already have found those who are happier tend to live longer, she said. While it hasnt been proven to be cause-and-effect, she said, evidence is accumulating that happiness as a trait "does predispose people to live longer," she said.

What about those camera-shy types who don't like their picture taken and therefore don't smile? Lyubomirsky said that probably wouldn't affect the overall results, as there are bound to be camera-shy types among both happy and unhappy people.

So if you're a sourpuss who scowls at the camera, can grinning help you take a better picture and improve your life expectancy?

That's difficult to say, as it's way beyond the scope of the study. But it may not hurt. According to Lyubomirsky, "Darwin was the first to suggest that the outward manifestation of an emotion will intensify it."

More information

To learn more about happiness, visit the American Psychological Association.

SOURCES: Ernest L. Abel, Ph.D., professor, obstetrics and gynecology and psychology, Wayne State University, Detroit; Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., professor, psychology, University of California, Riverside, and author, The How of Happiness; Feb. 26, 2010, Psychological Science Online First

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Biological clock could be a key to better health, longer life
2. Glaucoma Drugs May Play Role in Longer Life
3. Using Nicotine Patch Longer Boosts Efforts to Quit
4. Sedation Linked to Longer Stay in ICU
5. Zambian study finds longer breastfeeding best for HIV-infected mothers
6. Pet Health Insurance Grows as Pets Live Longer and Healthier Lives
7. Looking Younger Than Your Age May Mean Longer Life
8. Marijuana Use No Longer Dropping Among U.S. Teens
9. Military children face more emotional challenges as parental deployments grow longer, study finds
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Quality metrics are proliferating in cancer care, ... remain in the eye of the beholder, according to experts who offered insights and ... Journal of Managed Care. For the full issue, click here . , For ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and certified personal trainer is ... a fitness app. The fitness app plans to fix the two major problems leading the ... one size fits all type program , They don’t eliminate all the reasons ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 ... brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability to live ... not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that lice have simply ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... City, Oklahoma (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 ... ... helping both athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic ... the Oklahoma City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those ... deal with these feelings, many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol ... of Marne, Michigan, has released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... DUBLIN , June 24, 2016 ... and Markets has announced the addition of the ... their offering. ... products and provides an updated review, including its applications ... covering the total market, which includes three main industries: ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Dehaier Medical Systems ... "Company"), which develops, markets and sells medical devices and ... , signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Hongyuan Supply ... Supply Chain") on June 20, 2016, to develop Dehaier,s ... strategic cooperation agreement, Dehaier will leverage Hongyuan Supply Chain,s ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 ... Market by Type (Standard Pen Needles, Safety Pen Needles), ... (Insulin, GLP-1, Growth Hormone), Mode of Purchase (Retail, Non-Retail) ... MarketsandMarkets, This report studies the market for the forecast ... to reach USD 2.81 Billion by 2021 from USD ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: