Study: Liberal Smiles Are Happier than Conservative Smiles

AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad
AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad

Ongoing studies show that conservatives tend to be happier than liberals. But the authors of a new study dispute that. They say conservatives are just a bit delusional about their own happiness. Their study says the crinkliness of conservative eyes, or the lack thereof, gives the happiness game away to the left.

Peter Ditto, professor of psychology and social behavior at the University of California, Irvine, writes about the study in the March 13 issue of the journal Science. He says real happiness will “show up in people’s behavior.” Traditional studies have tended to ask liberals and conservatives if they are happy. Conservatives have answered yes at higher rates than liberals, so much so that some call it an “ideological happiness gap.”

Doctoral candidate Sean Jojcik decided that was not enough. He and his team studied the smiles of 533 Members of Congress and found that conservatives largely did not smile with their eyes, what some researchers say is evidence of a genuine, rather than a fake, smile.

His team also looked at language used in 47,000 Twitter posts of 4,000 Twitter users, along with the photographs of 457 users of LinkedIn. Here, too, researchers concluded that conservatives’s eyes are not crinkly enough. The tenor of the conservative Twitter users also revealed a relative lack of happiness.

Another study looked at responses at a site called that looks at life satisfaction and also the propensity to “self-enhance.” They found that conservatives score higher in life happiness but also in self-enhancement.

The lesson for conservatives clearly is that they must start smiling with their eyes, otherwise the left will know how miserable we really are.