Different Smiles Trigger Different Stress Responses, a Study Finds

A new study, conducted by the researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Bar-Ilan University, suggests that different smiles may reduce or increase physical stress depending upon how they are perceived.different smiles

A team of scientists measured levels of cortisol in the saliva of 90 male undergraduate students. The researchers found that “dominance” smiles were associated with higher HPA axis activity, such as increases in heart rate and salivary cortisol.

The researchers write in their paper: “The findings provide further evidence for the view that smiles do not necessarily constitute positive nonverbal feedback, and that they may impact social interactions by affecting the physiological reaction of people who perceive them. In addition, cortisol appears to support the detection of social threat and coordinate biological activity needed to adequately respond to the threat.”

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