According to new scientific research, “happy faces” are the hardest to read for an accurate age estimate, reports MSNBC. Not only can smiles and laughs cover up (or camouflage) age wrinkles with happiness-wrinkles, smiling faces have “a halo effect,” which means we think that a happy person is more attractive, younger, and more fun to hang out with. Which they pretty much are, honestly (unless they have a really annoying laugh).
The researchers showed more than 1,000 pictures of faces, ranging in expressions from anger to disgust to joy, to 154 German men and women and asked them to guess the photographed people’s ages. The easiest ages to guess were for the people with neutral expressions; the more the emotion, the harder to gauge age. Also, interestingly, younger people underestimated ages while older people overestimated them.
On average, the older ladies still looked three years younger than the older men. (Ohh snap.)
But the grand takeaway from this, it seems, is to laugh it up and stop worrying about how old you are, or, in the inimitable words of Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t worry. Be happy.” How old is he, now, anyway?
Go to Runnin’ Scared for all our latest news coverage.