The Secret to Being Cool: Smiling!

If someone tells you to ‘play it cool’ you might try to stay very calm, and act unaffected, but a new study finds you don’t have to hide your smile if you want to be perceived as cool. University of Arizona researchers showed participants photos of celebrities and non-celebrities who were smiling or inexpressive and asked them to rate the coolness of each. They also showed them print advertisements for a clothing brand (in each ad the model was either smiling or not) and rate which model seemed cool on a seven-point scale. Participants consistently rated the smiling models as cooler than the inexpressive models. Study leader Caleb Warren explains, “This inaccurate belief about how to become cool can influence the way we communicate with others, and being inexpressive can hurt relationships. It also makes it more difficult to understand one another. For these reasons, being inexpressive isn’t necessarily cool.”