How a man's smile can make a woman do his bidding – the new research that will make both sexes laugh
Academics find women are more likely to obey male colleagues if they flash a winning smile
01:58 GMT, 29 November 2012
It's a scientific study sure to make women laugh and men shake their heads in disbelief.
According to researchers, women are more likely to obey a man if he flashes a winning smile at them.
The academics looked at the way women behaved during different interactions with male friends and work colleagues.
Study: The research reveals women are more likely to obey a man if he flashes a winning smile
In one experiment, the man was in a
dominant role handing out instructions – and women obeyed him more often
if he grinned at them.
This was the case even if he chipped in with a blatantly sexist statement afterwards.
The University of Granada study also found that women assumed a more submissive posture when a man smiled at them.
The researchers concluded that the man’s ‘perceived warmth’ was the reason for the woman’s coy behaviour.
No chance: If the study is to be believed then women would stand no chance against George Clooney's famous grin
Body language expert Patti Wood said the findings were ‘troubling’, but she claimed the results could be because women rely on body language more than men to make decisions.
‘Even if there’s dissonance between what’s been said and what his body is doing, women will look to the body,’ she said.
‘If they see a smile, then the interaction seems more friendly.
‘It’s a tricky situation, and one that highlights just how subtly sexism can intrude on interactions.’
Miss Wood’s advice to women who do not want to be manipulated by a man’s smile –especially when they are at work – is to cut down on their own smiles and stop avoiding eye contact. ‘Smiling can make women seem more subordinate,’ said Miss Wood, who is based in the US.
‘If you’re smiling when giving an important statement, it makes that statement weaker.’
She also advises that women should be aware of their behaviour in general and to not just look at a man’s body language.
‘Think through the verbal message before you respond,’ she advised. ‘If he says something sexist and you smile or shrink, it means he can get away with it.’