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Apr 23, 2009

Fact-checking the family photos could avoid a marital mess.

By FLYP Staff

The best way to determine if a marriage will last may be by checking out the family photo album.
According to psychologists at Depauw University in Indiana, how much a person smiles in old photographs can indicate their future success in marriage.
Researchers used two tests to reach their conclusions. First, they looked at people’s college yearbooks and rated their smile intensity on a scale of 1 to 10. None of the people who fell within the top 10 percent of smile strength had divorced, while among those in the bottom 10 percent, approximately one in four had been in failed marriages.
The second test reinforced those results. This time, researchers asked people over the age of 65 to provide photos from their childhood. After scoring each person’s smile, the results showed that only 11 percent of the people rated as having the biggest smiles had been divorced, while 31 percent of the frowners had been in marriages that ended.
Overall, the results showed that people who frown in childhood photos are five times more likely to get divorced than people who smile.
What wasn’t clear was exactly why this is the case.
One researcher postulated that this tendency to smile for pictures both represents a positive disposition that attracts happier people. It would make sense that this sort of personality trait would lend itself to successful pairings.
Another suggestion is that people who smile more tend to attract more friends. And having more friends—and, thus, a larger support network—makes it easier to keep a marriage healthy.
One researcher even went as far as saying that people that smile in pictures are generally doing so because a photographer told them to, indicating an obedient streak that could be beneficial in relationships.
Whatever the reason, the message is the same: when looking for a mate, find one that’s willing to smile for the camera.

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