Ron Gutman reviews a raft of studies about smiling, and reveals some surprising results. Did you know your smile can be a predictor of how long you’ll live — and that a simple smile has a measurable effect on your overall well-being? Prepare to flex a few facial muscles as you learn more about this evolutionarily contagious behavior.








  • to embark on – to make a start; to engage in an enterprise
  • to yield – to produce something positive
  • longitudinal research – done on people or groups over a long period of time
  • to stumble – to encounter by chance
  • span – the period of time between two dates or events
  • to repress – to restrain, prevent
  • jolt – an abrupt, sharp blow or movement
  • to induce – to bring about, produce, or cause
  • to incur – to come into or acquire (some consequence, usually undesirable)
  • to tap into sth – to manage to use something in a way that brings good results



True or False?

1. Barry Obama’s attire gave him his superpowers.

2. Visually impaired babies are not able to smile.

3. Chocolate stimulates our brain reward mechanism better than smiling.

4. Smiling is healthy as it can increase the level of the tiny neurochemicals released by our bodies which reduce pain and boost pleasure.

5. When you smile people think you are well mannered.


ANSWERS: 1. F; 2. F; 3. F; 4.T; 5. T

Practice Makes Perfect

Use some of the words in Glossary to fill in the gaps in the sentences below:

1. Working in front of a computer may ………. some serious problems.

2. I’ve ………..ed across these old magazines by chance.

3. She could not ………. a smile when her boyfriend came in.

4. I’m afraid these are not the only costs …….. ed.

5. I hope that this recent improvement will help us …….. better results.


ANSWERS: 1.induce; 2. stumbled ; 3. repress; 4. incurred; 5. yield


Read and Answer the Questions below:

The ‘Halo Effect’: A Great Smile and the Road to Success


  • What’s the “Halo Effect” about?
  • What effect can a smile have on your colleagues?
  • What makes a great smile?
  • What attributes do we attach to people with straight teeth?
  • Why are adults hesitant when considering orthodontic treatment?


  • What difference does it make when sales staff smile at you in stores, train stations, etc?
  • When was the last time you couldn’t stop laughing?
  • Can one smile too much?
  • Are you a smiler? Do you like smiling?
  • What do you think when someone smiles at you in the street? Do you smile back or …?
  • “Everyone smiles in the same language.” Do you agree?


Explore it more to create your own teaching-learning experience!


A Computer Tells Real Smiles from Phonies

Listen or Read: