Smiling is unarguably the nonverbal act of friendliness. We associate those who smile at us with traits such as friendliness, empathy, happiness and benevolence. In fact, research in the past suggests the women are associated with attractiveness when they smile and men are associated with dominance.
But is there a difference in how smiles are perceived between genders? YES!
Smiles are perceived differently based on whether the recipient (and observer) is a guy or a girl!
Krumhuber et al. (2007) found that women’s smiles were deemed less authentic than men’s because women smile more than men and therefore, their act of smiling is considered the “norm” and less indicative of their real feelings.
The study by Krumhuber et al. found that the ability to differentiate between a fake and genuine smile was mostly seen in women! Men could not (or would not) tell the difference and the researchers believe it’s because they read less genuine smiles as flirting.
Translation: Girls, generally speaking your fellow females will be the most adept at seeking out a fake smile and guys, you’re not too good at it!
So what is the right way to smile?
According to Krumhuber, Manstead & Kappas (2007), a “long-onset smile”–a slow smile–was deemed more authentic, more attractive, more trustworthy and less dominant.