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Power Of Smiling: Study Says Fewer Smiles Can Make You More Powerful

08/22/2012 05:23 EDT | Updated 08/22/2012 05:34 EDT
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Take that frown but keep it upside down -- at least if you want to appear more powerful.

According to a group of studies conducted by New Mexico State University, researchers found smiling can result in lower status when referring to personal dominance and social prestige, according to The Vancouver Sun.

Researchers in one study revealed that football players who were least likely to smile in team headshots were more "physically imposing," than players who didn't, according to the report. Another study looked at how models in ads for expensive campaigns were less likely to smile than those posing for smaller companies.

"Smiles can put you in a positive light by signalling that you're friendly and trustworthy, and that you aren't a threat to others. But higher-status individuals often want to appear in charge and as a threat, and they lose some of that power by smiling," says study co-author Timothy Ketelaar, associate professor of psychology at New Mexico State University told The Vancouver Sun.

But exposing your chompers isn't all bad for you. Some psychologists have suggested that smiling can increase a person's trust levels, make one more forgiveable and even help people live longer, according to Yahoo News.

And that song by Louis Armstrong, "When You're Smiling," does have some truth in its lyrics. Some studies have found that when you smile, the world is literally smiling back at you -- being happy can be contagious. The Harvard University study also found that when a person becomes happy, a person close by has a 25 per cent higher chance of becoming happy themselves, according to NPR.

As a final portion of Ketelaar's study, his team asked participants to make assumptions about each football player's size and personality based on their headshots. Players who barely smiled were rated larger in size and dubbed more hostile. Which is why, Ketelaar believes, celebrities like Victoria Beckham never flashes a smirk.

But it's not just our faces that can reflect a powerful stature. Folding arms can indicate that a person is closed-off or defensive, while standing with your hands on your hips can make you appear to be taking control of a situation, according to About.com.

Here are 5 forms of body language that can make you appear more powerful:

5 Ways To Seem More Powerful

Just Act Like It:

Practice makes perfect people. Author Jeffrey Pfeffer says you should act like you already have a powerful role. "Over time, you will become more like you're acting -- self-assured, confident, and more strongly-convinced of the truth of what you are saying," he told Business Insider.

Hands On Your Hips:

Place your hands on your hips and stand straight. Keeping your hands on your hips during conversation for example can make you appear larger.

Listen -- Or At Least Look Like It :

Public speaker Carol Kinsey Goman says listening and maintaining eye contact are all important features of a person that holds power.

A Powerful Handshake:

Kinsey Goman also says that you should also shake hands with everyone you meet. One study showed that people you shake hands with are two times more likely to remember you.

Stop Fidgeting:

WomensMedia.com says if you're entering a room full of new faces, try not to fidget. Tapping your legs or playing with your hair can make you seem uncertain and less confident.