A recent study looked at the smiles of UFC fighters and concluded that smiling was a sign of submission and signaled that a fighter was more likely to lose. It turned out they were right: the fighter who smiled less were more likely to win the fight.

But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared to show your smile, just the opposite. Smiling is actually a way to secure victory without a fight.

You show your teeth more in conversation

UFC Fighters, Smiling, and Dominance

The smile study was published in the journal Emotion, and consisted of two parts. In the first part, researchers looked at prefight photographs and evaluated the smiles of the participants, then looked at which fighter won the fight. It was more likely for the less smiling fighter to win the fight.

In the second part of the study, researchers had people judge photographs of fighters either smiling or not smiling. It turns out that people rated the not smiling photograph as being more dominant than the smiling one.

Researchers then concluded that smiling was a sign of submission, and that the people who smiled more were essentially signalling their lack of willingness to fight hard. The smiling was situational–the same fighters didn’t always smile in their prefight pictures.

Does This Mean Smiling Is for Losers?

The researchers in this study thought their results cast doubt on the concept of a winning smile, but only in the specific context they chose. Once a fight is inevitable, a smile’s purpose is ruined, because smiling is something people use to avoid fighting.

But as Sun Tzu reminds us in The Art of War, this is not the equivalent of defeat. Master Sun says, “Those who win every battle are not really skillful–those who render others’ armies helpless without fighting are the best of all.” And what better way to render your opponent helpless than with an attractive smile?

But if you are unhappy with your smile and don’t feel it is the strongest weapon in your arsenal, cosmetic dentistry can help.

Please contact Beyond Exceptional Dentistry‘s office near Hilton Head for an appointment to learn how we can help your smile.