Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 99–105 | Cite as

Smile intensity in photographs predicts divorce later in life

  • Matthew J. HertensteinEmail author
  • Carrie A. Hansel
  • Alissa M. Butts
  • Sarah N. Hile
Original Paper


Based on social–functional accounts of emotion, we conducted two studies examining whether the degree to which people smiled in photographs predicts the likelihood of divorce. Along with other theorists, we posited that smiling behavior in photographs is potentially indicative of underlying emotional dispositions that have direct and indirect life consequences. In the first study, we examined participants’ positive expressive behavior in college yearbook photos and in Study 2 we examined a variety of participants’ photos from childhood through early adulthood. In both studies, divorce was predicted by the degree to which subjects smiled in their photos.


Emotion Positive emotion Divorce 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew J. Hertenstein
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carrie A. Hansel
    • 1
  • Alissa M. Butts
    • 1
  • Sarah N. Hile
    • 1
  1. 1.DePauw UniversityGreencastleUSA

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