Study shows that faking a smile doesn't really make you happier

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Researchers tried to replicate a study made back in 1988, hoping that they will get the same results.

An experiment back in 1988 said that faking a smile makes people happy. A much more recent study says otherwise.

It's called facial-feedback hypothesis

In the first study, participants were asked to rate cartoons based on their humor while they used a pen to simulate smiling or frowning. Those who simulated smiles rated the comics as funnier than their counterparts that simulated frowning.

They called their hypothesis "facial-feedback", which basically means that if you fake a smile, then your brain will respond in kind and make you feel happier, just like if you're happy and smiling.

However, recent experiments that replicated the initial study failed to yield the same results. A German psychologist named Fritz Strack was one of the researchers that were part of the initial study, and asked other researchers to replicate their initial experiment to help measure the validity of their hypothesis.

17 labs and 1894 participants took part in the study, and all of them found no evidence to support the facial-feedback hypothesis.

They were surprised to see a different result

Strack even offered advice to the psychologists conducting the study, but he wasn't directly a part of the more recent set of experiments.

The researchers were confident that the results of the initial study would be replicated, confirming the initial hypothesis. But they were surprised that none of the results yielded a statistically significant result.

However, the researchers are still adamant on figuring out what made the difference in their second study.

Eric-Jan Wagenmakers, one of the researchers, said that "I wouldn’t just argue about how the experiment could have been done differently. I would take action and show [the critics] with data that they were wrong."

He's also looking to collaborate with others in order to get more information on what exactly went wrong with the study so that they can learn more about the phenomenon.

How can we keep ourselves happy?

We can't always keep ourselves happy 100% of the time. Sometimes, we just feel sad or down, and that's totally normal. However, it's still important to bounce right back so that we don't dwell on the sadness.

Here are some things that you can do to keep yourself happy:

  1. Go out! Going out is a good thing to do whenever you're feeling down. Sometimes you just need a change of scenery to keep your spirits up.
  2. Friends are important. Talk to a close friend, or a close relative. It can just be the distraction you need so that you can get your mind off the things that's bringing you down.
  3. Go for a walk. Go take a short walk outside, breathe in the fresh air and take everything in. It's not only good for your health, but it's also relaxing to go out on a walk from time to time.
  4. Exercise! Exercise really does make you happy. It boosts your energy levels and releases endorphins which are commonly called "happy hormones."
  5. Relax. If you're getting stressed out over something, just relax. Take a moment to compose yourself and understand that things will eventually sort themselves out.
  6. Go on a date night with your partner. Sometimes, a date with your partner is exactly what you need. You don't need to go out on a fancy date, it can just be an impromptu date of you going out and getting some ice cream and having a nice walk at the park.

READ: Top 10 ways to make your baby laugh and smile

Sources: huffingtonpost.com, slate.com, parenting.co.uk

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