Kuba KRYS, Polish Academy of Sciences
C. -Melanie VAUCLAIR, Cis-IUL
Colin A. CAPALDI, Carleton University
Miu Chi, Vivian LUN, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Michael Harris BOND, Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityFollow
Alejandra DOMINGUEZ-ESPINOSA, Iberoamerican University, Mexico City
Claudio TORRES, University of Brasilia, Brasília
Ottmar V. LIPP, Curtin University, Perth, Australia
L. Sam S. MANICKAM, JSS University, Karnataka, India
Cai XING, Renmin University of China, Beijing
Radka ANTALÍKOVÁ, Aalborg University, Aalborg, DenmarkFollow
Vassilis PAVLOPOULOS, University of Athens, Greece
Julien TEYSSIER, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France
Taekyun HUR, Korea University, Republic of Korea
Karolina HANSEN, University of Warsaw, Poland
Piotr SZAROTA, Polish Academy of Sciences
Ramadan A. AHMED, Menoufia University, Al Minufya, EgyptFollow
Eleonora BURTCEVA, Saint-Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia
Ana CHKHAIDZE, Agricultural University of Georgia, Tbilisi, Georgia
Enila CENKO, University of New York Tirana, Tirana, AlbaniaFollow
Patrick DENOUX, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France
Márta FÜLÖP, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
Arif HASSAN, International Islamic University Malaysia, Malaysia
David O. IGBOKWE, Covenant University, Nigeria
İdil IŞIK, Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey
Gwatirera JAVANGWE, University of Zimbabwe, Harare
María MALBRAN, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina
Fridanna MARICCHIOLO, University of Roma Tre, Italy
Hera MIKARSA, University of Indonesia
Lynden K. MILES, University of Aberdeen, UK
Martin NADER, Universidad ICESI, Colombia
Joonha PARK, Nagoya University of Commerce and Business, Japan
Muhammad RIZWAN, University of Luzern, Switzerland
Radwa SALEM, New York University, USA
Beate SCHWARZ, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland
Irfana SHAH, University of Sindh, Pakistan
Chien-Ru SUN, National Chengchi University, Taipei
Wijnand van TILBURG, King’s College London, United Kingdom
Wolfgang WAGNER, Johannes Kepler University, Austria
Ryan WISE, Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey
Angela Arriola YU, University of the Philippines-Diliman, Philippines

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Journal article

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Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

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Smile, Honesty, Intelligence, Corruption, Uncertainty avoidance, Culture


Smiling individuals are usually perceived more favorably than non-smiling ones—they are judged as happier, more attractive, competent, and friendly. These seemingly clear and obvious consequences of smiling are assumed to be culturally universal, however most of the psychological research is carried out in WEIRD societies (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic) and the influence of culture on social perception of nonverbal behavior is still understudied. Here we show that a smiling individual may be judged as less intelligent than the same non-smiling individual in cultures low on the GLOBE’s uncertainty avoidance dimension. Furthermore, we show that corruption at the societal level may undermine the prosocial perception of smiling—in societies with high corruption indicators, trust toward smiling individuals is reduced. This research fosters understanding of the cultural framework surrounding nonverbal communication processes and reveals that in some cultures smiling may lead to negative attributions.



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Funding Information

Research was supported by the Polish NCN Grant 2011/03/N/HS6/05112 (K.K.) and Chinese NNSF Grant 31200788 (C.X). {2011/03/N/HS6/05112 (K.K.), 31200788 (C.X)}

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Copyright © The Author(s) 2015. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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Recommended Citation

Krys, K., Vauclair, C.-M., Capaldi, C. A., Lun, V. M.-C., Bond, M. H., Domínguez-Espinosa, A,...Yu, A. A. (2016). Be careful where you smile: Culture shapes judgments of intelligence and honesty of smiling individuals. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 40(2), 101-116. doi: 10.1007/s10919-015-0226-4

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