How many of you are your natural self in front of other people? Not many! Though this world demands a few societal policies that need to be implemented there is no requirement for you to be under false pretext every second in life. What might seem to be good to one might be bad to another. Its impossible to please everyone in this world including yourself and when you enter this web, it’s never-ending and ever-tiring. Being amongst people who keep judging you constantly, scoring you for your work and commenting on each and everything that you do isn’t cool, normal or acceptable. For example, during a public-speaking event the speaker is constantly judged on what he/she speaks and even abrasive comments are heard sometimes. The same hold good for any ‘laugh for a cause’ events, plays or even for those who conduct classes. Under such circumstances, we become more conscious about what happens around us losing track of our motive and treading off the path. But this wasn’t our ideology in the first place, right?
Smile to Succeed
Amidst any situation where people judge us our bodies produce steroid hormones called glucocorticoids that have a strong impact on various systems in the body. This hormone is mainly the effect of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis which includes the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain and the adrenal glands near the kidneys each of which contribute to such changes in the body.
One group of researchers were interested in knowing whether the HPA axis played a crucial role in affecting nonverbal feedbacks too, for instance, facial expressions. From past research we know that there are at least three different genuine smiles exhibited by people:
Reward smile: Display happiness and reinforce behavior
Affiliation smile: Intensify social bonds between people
Dominance smile: Display cheekiness and establish superior social status
The group’s major aim was to understand how each of these smiles affected HPA axis. For this, they chose 90 male college goers who were asked to give three short speeches about themselves in front of a male evaluator who was present only over the web camera. During each of the speeches the evaluator went live only for a second after which he turned off the camera. After each of the speeches the participants were show videos of the evaluator’s face expressions. Though the participants were told that the expressions were spontaneous what these poor kids did not know was the fact that in fact they were pre-recorded emotions. There was a sign of reward, affiliation or dominance smile in each of the videos after the speech and every time the participants were also shown a video that contained a neutral face expression.
The researchers measured levels of glucocorticoid level in the men’s saliva and also used an electrocardiograph before, during and after the speech to measure heart activity. Results showed that:
Though this study provides a small insight into the impact of nonverbal cues on people we need more studies and also those on women as they may respond in a different manner compared to men!
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