In a huge win for oft-manipulated men everywhere, new research in Spain has found that when a man flashes his pearly whites, women are more likely to do what he asks.
The study, conducted at the University of Granada, had men give instructions to groups of women and recorded their body language and perception of the man.
The test subjects were more likely to obey the instructions and have a higher opinion of the man when he smiled – even when the smile was accompanied by blatantly sexist remarks*. The researchers also found that a man's grin made the women assume a more narrow and submissive posture.
The kicker: a woman smiling while delivering important information is perceived as weaker than when she says it straight-faced. (News to us, considering our brains go to mush every time a woman smiles.)
The researchers concluded that the perceived warmth from the man's smile made the women alter their behavior.
It's a theory supported by body language expert Patti Wood, who said that women reply more heavily on body language cues than men do for decision-making.
"Even if there's dissonance between what's been said and what his body is doing, women will look to the body," Wood said.
"If they see a smile, then the interaction seems more friendly."
If you've flashed your most disarming smile but you're not sure it's worked its magic, look for these subtle cues:
- She's avoiding eye contact
- She's smiling too much
*In no way do we condone the use of this research to get away with sexist remarks.