Telegraph.co.uk – Children with brightest smiles have successful marriages [PDF]
Children with the brightest smiles in family photographs are more than three times likely to have a successful marriagethan those who frown, according to research.
I hate all these ridiculous studies. They’re….ridiculous. And especially on this one I call bullshit.
Let me illustrate.
I conduct a study on hundreds of people named Charlie. I post my results: of all the Charlie’s out there that are the eldest child, the majority of them will have had at one point engaged in homosexual fantasies by the age of 30.
The implication: eldest children named Charlie will think homosexual thoughts by the age of 30.
My reaction to such a hypothetical study: horseshit.
Let me make this clear: you take something arbitrary and link it to a serious matter, something that the subject has the capability to control, I will call bullshit. My example is ludicrous, but I’m trying to make a point.
Firstly, where’s the control? Who’s to say that these kids weren’t forced to give super cheery smiles? Smiles don’t mean shit. We all learn to smile and lie with our faces.
Secondly, an enduring marriage has more to do with the ability to navigate interpersonal relationships and the willingness/ability to communicate clearly. What the fuck do smiles have to do with it? Sure, smiles are used as a method to promote social harmony, but that doesn’t mean diddly in the specific context of a marriage.
“Smile intensity predicted whether or not participants divorced at some point in their lives,” the researchers said, adding: “The less intensely participants smiled, the more likely they would be divorced later in life.”
“It found that those with the weakest smiles were more than three times as likely to have been through a divorce, according to the journal Motivation and Emotion.”
The tone of this is rather conclusive.
“A second experiment, which included pictures taken of people as young as five, backed up the conclusion.”
….the implication is that a child at the age of five who smiles in family photos has a positive and happy outlook on life. Therefore, this is a way to predict the likelihood of divorce. I can tell you this: by the time a kid ages 25 years, it would not surprise me if he became less happy. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if he became miserable.
“The researchers believe that those who are generally happier are therefore more likely to try to work through difficulties in relationships and marriages.”
…this is common sense. But smiles in a photograph don’t mean shit. Photographs are a single moment in time. They are absolutely unreliable reflections of a person’s general disposition in life.
Sy Parrish put it best.
Family photos depict smiling faces… births, weddings, holidays, children’s birthday parties. People take pictures of the happy moments in their lives. Someone looking through our photo album would conclude that we had led a joyous, leisurely existence free of tragedy. No one ever takes a photograph of something they want to forget.
And now…off to write a little something about One Hour Photo (I’ll post a link to the piece here when I’m done).