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Smiling Faces Task and Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Photo courtesy iStock

The Smiling Faces Task is a newly developed measure of affiliative and prosocial tendencies. Specifically, participants are shown images of smiling faces (equally balanced across two genders and four ethnicities) and asked to indicate their liking of each face on a scale. Our studies have established that higher average liking of these faces is closely associated with measures of healthy social relationships and qualities linked to healthy social relationships (e.g., trust, empathy, agreeableness). In June 2020, we recontacted the participants who had completed the Smiling Faces Task in August 2019 and asked them to respond to questions about the pandemic's impact on their lives and their current psychological outlook. Higher scores on the Smiling Faces Task (from 10 months ago) were associated with higher life satisfaction and healthier relationships, as well as lower worry and anxiety during the pandemic.

People Working on This Study

Pelin Kesebir
Pelin Kesebir
Assistant Scientist, Center for Healthy Minds
Christy Wilson Mendenhall
Christy Wilson-Mendenhall
Associate Scientist, Center for Healthy Minds & Scientific Lead, Healthy Minds Program, Healthy Minds Innovations
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