Next Article in Journal
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Brain Sciences in 2018
Previous Article in Journal
How Deep Brain Stimulation of the Nucleus Accumbens Affects the Cingulate Gyrus and Vice Versa
Article Menu
Issue 1 (January) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9010006

The Motivational Power of the Happy Face

1
Faculty of Psychology, Research Group Personality and Developmental Psychology, University of Basel, 4055 Basel, Switzerland
2
Department of Psychology, University Research Priority Program Dynamics of Healthy Aging, University of Zurich, 8050 Zurich, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 November 2018 / Revised: 21 December 2018 / Accepted: 31 December 2018 / Published: 7 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perceptual and Affective Mechanisms in Facial Expression Recognition)
Full-Text   |   PDF [875 KB, uploaded 10 January 2019]   |  

Abstract

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. View Full-Text
Keywords: emotional faces; approach; avoidance; motivation; reaction times emotional faces; approach; avoidance; motivation; reaction times
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Nikitin, J.; Freund, A.M. The Motivational Power of the Happy Face. Brain Sci. 2019, 9, 6.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Brain Sci. EISSN 2076-3425 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top