The motivational power of the happy face

Nikitin, Jana and Freund, Alexandra M.. (2019) The motivational power of the happy face. Brain Sciences, 9 (1). pp. 1-18.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/67973/

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People who are cheerful have better social relationships. This might be the case because happy faces communicate an invitation to interact. Thus, happy faces might have a strong motivational effect on others. We tested this hypothesis in a set of four studies. Study 1 ( N = 94) showed that approach reactions to happy faces are faster than other reactions to happy or angry faces. Study 2 ( N = 99) found the same effect when comparing reactions to happy faces with reactions to disgusted faces. Supporting the notion that this effect is related to motivation, habitual social approach motivation intensified the motivational effect of happy faces (Study 3, N = 82). Finally, Study 4 ( N = 40) showed that the reaction-time asymmetry does not hold for categorization tasks without approach and avoidance movements. These studies demonstrate that happy faces have a strong motivational power. They seem to activate approach reactions more strongly than angry or disgusted faces activate avoidance reactions.
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Ehemalige Einheiten Psychologie > Entwicklungs- und Persönlichkeitspsychologie (Nikitin)
UniBasel Contributors:Nikitin, Jana
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:15 May 2019 13:31
Deposited On:15 May 2019 13:31

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