Just having a few women smile at a man in public is enough to make other women consider him much more desirable, according to researchers.
Dr Benedict Jones of the University of Aberdeen recently released a study that he conducted to examine how other people can influence our decisions.
The volunteers first looked at photographs of four young men wearing neutral expressions looking directly at the camera.
The women judged two photographs of men and had to rate which of the two was the more attractive using an 8-point scale.
The same faces were shown again to the volunteers. This time, though, the male faces were paired with a female face, shown in profile, who either looked neutrally at the man or smiled at him.
The volunteers were again asked to give another attractiveness rating.
The attractiveness rating was downward by more than 10% on average if his picture had been next to a woman with a neutral expression. On the other hand, the attractiveness rating sharply rose by an average of at least 15% if the woman looking at him had a smile on her face.
What could this mean for marketers? Many women take their cues from other women when sizing something up a man (or products for that matter). This could be true in print ads, TV commercials, and especially in social networks.
In what ways can you incorporate cues from women with your products?
[By the way, the reverse was true for men: 28 young male volunteers took part in the same experiment, and their rating of the likeability of the male faces plummeted if the man in the picture was being smiled at by a woman. But if the woman had a neutral look, the likeability rating improved.]