Why Russians don't smile

There is one thing that I, the daughter of Russian parents, who grew up in the United States, always baffled. Every time I or my friends were photographed, we were asked to say "here" and smile. However, if my parents were such photos, they always stood stone-faced. At school pictures of my parents having fun together with classmates in their flared trousers, looking absolutely lost and sad.

And not just in photos: Russian women there is no reason to worry that some strange man will order them to smile. You might think that the Russian — just Moody people, unable to enjoy life. However, this does not mean that they are all unhappy.

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Quite the opposite: a courageous ruler, vodka and much more gives them pleasure. Just wanton smile is not included in the number of skills they possess or seek to cultivate. There is even a Russian proverb, something like "laughter for no reason – sign fool".

Habit of Russians to keep cold and gloomy facial expression seem to foreigners even more than the actual cold local climate. This cultural difference is oboudostoronne: Russian in America at first hard to get used to the fact that they smile to strangers.

What can explain this? Why do some communities not encouraged to smile without any reasons?

I found the answer to this question, at least partially, when I came across a new work of the psychologist from the Polish Academy of Sciences, Cuba Chris. In some countries, a smile can be perceived not as a sign of affection, kindness or even respect. It is a sign that the person is a fool, or maybe trying to fool you.

Chris pays special attention to the phenomenon known as "avoidance of uncertainty". Crops are at a low level of development, tend to create an unstable social system – the courts, healthcare, insurance. Therefore, people in this society feel that their future is unpredictable and uncontrollable.

Smile is a sign of confidence and inner peace, and when people in these countries smile, strange as it may seem. Why would you smile, if the fate is an invisible predator that is just waiting for the moment to attack? In these countries, the smiling man might even seem a fool.

Chris also suggested that smile in corrupt countries may even cause suspicion. When all around are constantly trying to deceive each other, you can't be sure that the person smiling to you, not simply trying to lull thus your alertness.

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Photos that Cuba Chris proposed to evaluate the participants in their study


To test their hypothesis, Chris offered to thousands of people in 44 different countries to rate a series of eight smiling and unsmiling individuals on the criterion of honesty and intelligence. He then compared their responses rating each country according to the criterion of "avoiding uncertainty", composed in the study, 62 countries in 2004, and the level of corruption.

The author found that in countries such as Germany, Switzerland, China and Malaysia smiling faces received significantly higher score in the criterion of intellect, than the unsmiling. However, in Japan, India, Iran, South Korea and, of course, in Russia, smiling faces seemed less intelligent respondents. Even after taking into account other factors, such as the state of the economy, remained strong correlation between the degree of feeling of uncertainty in society and the likelihood that people in one country or another will find the smiling face of the less intelligent.

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The level of intelligence and a smile: countries to the left of the red line, I think smiling people are less intelligent than the unsmiling; the right – on the contrary


At the same time, in countries such as India, Argentina, and also in the Maldives, a smile associated with dishonesty. This effect, as discovered by Chris, correlates with the level of corruption in the country.

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Honesty and a smile: in the countries located to the left of the red line, people perceive smiling faces as less honest



"This study shows that corruption in society at a certain level can weaken and distort the importance of this evolutionarily important signal, like a smile"—says Chris.

This explanation can be considered satisfactory. However, it should be noted that other studies have found that, perhaps, there are other factors, among which is called the degree of hierarchy and male dominance in a particular culture that play an important role in the external manifestation of emotions, including, of course, the attitude to the smile. There is also evidence that in some cultures happiness is not valued particularly highly, and this may affect the willingness of people to force myself to smile widely.

Finally, the ranking of countries by level of "desire to avoid uncertainty" can be associated with serious mistakes, not to mention the time factor: consider how "certain" could be Syria until 2010 or Greece to 2008. In addition, there is a completely different system of determining the degree of "avoidance of uncertainty", developed by another scientist, Geert Hofstede in the 1980s, and these two methods give completely different results. Everyone, of course, the famous phrase "mind Russia not to understand", and, of course, through surveys it is difficult to achieve some success.


Also interesting: Pick the right their environment

Good people give us happiness and bad experience


Of course, in the work of the CDIP, perhaps, overly used techniques of extrapolation and migration. However, it can at least serve as a consolation for the cheerful of Americans who are perplexed at the complete lack of smiles in this temple of seriousness, as the St. Petersburg metro.published 

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Author: Olga Khazan

Translation: Igor Abramov


P. S. And remember, only by changing their consumption — together we change the world! ©

Source: mixednews.ru/archives/101581


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