Think back on the class picture days from your past: Did you smile big for the camera or keep it tight-lipped? Your choice may be more telling than you realize; According to recent research, your smile, or lackthereof, in photos from your youth may predict your likelihood of divorce later in life.
In his new book, The Tell: The Little Clues That Reveal Big Truths about Who We Are, DePauw University psychology professor Matthew Hertenstein digs deeper into his 2009 study that revealed that people who smiled widely were more likely to have lasting marriages than those who smiled weakly, or not at all, in their childhood photos.
Hertenstein and his team examined several hundred college yearbook photos to gauge how intensely people smiled. Subjects with an intense smile contracted both the muscles that elevate the cheeks and the muscles that make the eyes "smile," too -- the orbicularis oculi muscles.
The team then asked the subjects, ranging in age from their early twenties to their late eighties, if they had divorced. The big reveal? Those who smiled the least in their yearbook photos were five times more likely to divorce at some point in their lives compared to those who smiled the most.
How can something as seemingly insignificant as your smile in childhood photos predict so much about your future?
"Perhaps people who smile in their photos are simply being more compliant when the photographer says, 'Cheese.' It may be that this level of obedience is the glue that keeps some marriages together," Hertenstein writes in The Tell. "The explanation with the most support, is that people who smile in their photographs have a more positive disposition and more extensive social network. When life throws us inevitable curveballs, those with a positive emotional disposition and strong social support tend to thrive."
Click through the slideshow below for more surprising divorce research.
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