The Economist has a very interesting article reporting experiments that show a relationship between smiling in a yearbook photo and divorce later in life.
- The experimenters got hold of about 700 yearbook photos
- The smiles in the photos were then rated
- Smile ratings were then statistically compared with divorce in later life
- Never divorced subjects had average smile ratings of 5.9
- Divorced subjects had average smile ratings of 5.2 (a statistically significant difference)
- Those who were least smiling were three times more likely to be divorced than those who were most smiling
It seems that statistically significant information can be gleaned from a thin “slice” of information. Smiles really do indicate personality.