It’s hard to miss that it’s an election year. Politicians have been showboating their smiles across the country – a tradition every election cycle. But can flashing pearly whites affect what happens at the ballot box?
• Smiles can influence elections.
Candidates who smile in campaign photos have improved polling outcomes, compared to those who don’t smile, according to a recent political psychology study. But for politicians who want to appear tough-as-nails, the line is more delicate.
• Smiling is a submissive behavior.
The origin of smiling in humans may be from a sign of submission in primates. In fact, smiling was found to be a predictor of who would lose in mixed martial arts matches.
• Smiling is subtle in politics.
For voters, a smile is a glimpse into a candidate’s personality, or even more directly into what the candidate is really feeling. And each type of smile reveals something different. No type of smile is wrong, but it should reflect the message and appear genuine.
So whether you’re knocking on doors or knocking your head against the wall this election season, at least you’ll know what to look for in a candidate’s grin.