Smile intensity in photographs predicts divorce later in life

Matthew J. Hertenstein, Carrie A. Hansel, Alissa M. Butts, Sarah N. Hile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-105
Number of pages7
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Divorce
  • Emotion
  • Positive emotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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