Who Smiles While Alone? Rates of Smiling Lower in China than US

Talhelm, T., Oishi, S., & Zhang, X. (2018). Who smiles while alone? Rates of smiling lower in China than US. Emotion.

17 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2018

See all articles by Thomas Talhelm

Thomas Talhelm

University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Shigehiro Oishi

University of Virginia - Psychology

Xuemin Zhang

Beijing Normal University (BNU)

Date Written: June 20, 2018

Abstract

Previous studies have found that Westerners value high intensity positive emotions more than people in China and Japan, yet few studies have compared actual rates of smiling across cultures. Particularly rare are observational studies of real-time smiling (as opposed to smiling in photos). In Study 1, raters coded student ID photos of European American and East Asian students in the US. In Study 2, observers coded people’s smiles as they walked outside in the US and China. Both studies found that people from East Asia smiled much less—about 50% less. These differences could reflect differences in happiness across cultures, norms of smiling, or differences in ideal affect.

Keywords: smiling, China, culture, observational study

Suggested Citation

Talhelm, Thomas and Oishi, Shigehiro and Zhang, Xuemin, Who Smiles While Alone? Rates of Smiling Lower in China than US (June 20, 2018). Talhelm, T., Oishi, S., & Zhang, X. (2018). Who smiles while alone? Rates of smiling lower in China than US. Emotion.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3199628

Thomas Talhelm (Contact Author)

University of Chicago Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/faculty/directory/t/thomas-talhelm

Shigehiro Oishi

University of Virginia - Psychology ( email )

United States

Xuemin Zhang

Beijing Normal University (BNU) ( email )

19 Xinjiekou Outer St
Haidian District
Beijing, Guangdong 100875
China

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