This research paper evaluates the relationship between facial expression and the mood with an aim of establishing whether smiling would alter mood thereby help research participants to perform boring tasks. Two tasks namely reading and washing utensils were identified as boring tasks and used to evaluate the effect of smiling on accomplishing boring tasks. Out of three hundred students recruited to participate in the study, only sixty-three of them were selected to proceed to the second stage of the study. Findings reveal that smiling can be instrumental in helping research participants perform boring tasks.
Does Smiling Affect Mood
Researchers have demonstrated that emotional experiences have significant effects on self-focused attention. They have also demonstrated that expressive behaviors and facial expressions can be important parts of emotional feelings (Lin, Hu, & Gong, 2015). On the other hand, other researchers have demonstrated that recurrent smiling can diminish wellbeing. A study by Labroo, Mukhopadhyay and Dong conducted in 2014 in particular has demonstrated that smiling does not translate to happiness especially among people that do not interpret it as reflecting happiness (Labroo, Mukhopadhyay & Dong, 2014). In spite of this fact, a study by Kraft and Pressman has demonstrated that facial expression can be instrumental in minimizing stress level (Kraft, & Pressman, 2012). This is an indication that smiling although not necessarily a representation of happiness can be effective in certain areas (Yamamoto, Sugimori & Shimada, 2010).
Theoretically, this research study is based on the general motivational theories. The theories presume that certain factors cause people to act in certain direction. For example, they presume that good working conditions help workers improve their performances. As used in this research paper, the theory demonstrates that when people smile they are likely to accomplish boring tasks. Different methods such as cracking jokes, comedy materials and exciting story books are used to make research participants smile as they accomplish a set of boring tasks (Lin, Hu & Gong, 2015).
This research paper tries to establish the relationship between facial expression and mood. In particular, it tries to establish whether a person’s facial expression in form of a smile would have significant effect on mood that would in return help a person to accomplish a boring task. In line with the current studies, it has been hypothesized that smiling would help people to accomplish boring tasks. Once conducted, the study will add value to the current studies by establishing what should be done to help people especially students to accomplish boring tasks. It will highlight the importance of smile in enhancing learning especially among students that consider learning as boring.
The following is the research hypothesis for the research paper.
Null hypothesis: Based on the fact that research participants come from a group of people that classify the task under evaluation as boring, it is hypothesized that there would be no significant difference in terms of accomplishing the tasks between the groups of people that would be allowed to smile during the study and those that would not be allowed to smile during the study. In terms of correlation, this hypothesis would be simplified as it follows. There is no relationship between smiling and performance of boring tasks among the research participants.
Alternative hypothesis: In contrast to the above hypothesis, the alternative hypothesis presumes that there would be significant difference in terms of accomplishing tasks between the groups of people that would be allowed to smile during the study and those that would not be allowed to smile during the study. In terms of correlation, this hypothesis would be simplified as it follows. There is strong relationship between smiling and performance of boring tasks among the research participants.
If there would be no significant difference between the outcomes of the two groups of people, then the null hypothesis would not be rejected. In that regard, it would be concluded that smiling does not cause research participants to accomplish boring tasks. Conversely, if there would be significant difference between the outcomes of the two groups of people, then the null hypothesis would be rejected and the alternative hypothesis be accepted as true. In such a case, it would be concluded that smiling causes research participants to accomplish boring tasks.
Previous studies have demonstrated that smile manipulation can improve long-term negative moods. A study by Lin, Hu and Gong in particular has demonstrated that even brief smile manipulation among people with minor depression could improve their long-term mood states (Lin, Hu, & Gong, 2015).
Previous studies have also demonstrated that certain expressive behaviors as well as facial expressions can be used to express emotional feelings (Brown, & Taylor, 1986). A study by Lewis and Bowler in particular established that patients that received Botox injection aimed at preventing frowning did not report depression and anxiety as their counterparts that did not receive the said injection did (Lewis, & Bowler, 2009). In line with these studies, it has been established that people experience positive moods when they assume facial expressions that are consistent with smiling (Lin, Hu, & Gong, 2015). This suggests that when people smile, they are likely to experience positive moods that would in return help them to accomplish boring tasks.
Kraft and Pressman have demonstrated that smiling can be instrumental in reducing stress level. The study was conducted by asking half of the research participants to smile while the other half of research participants were not asked to smile. Upon measuring the stress level for the research participants, the researchers established that the stress level for research participants that did not smile during the study were higher than stress level for their counterparts that smiled during the study (Kraft, & Pressman, 2012). This indicates that smiling affects the mood and in return reduces stress level. In the same manner, smiling can be used to alter mood among people that do not enjoy performing certain tasks to help them to accomplish those tasks.
Studies have also demonstrated that it is possible to transfer smile from one person to another by enfacing the smile. A study by Ma et al in particular has been able to demonstrate that it is possible to be happy by doing this (Ma et al., 2016). Another study by Rhodewalt and Comer conducted in 1979 was able to establish that it was possible to alter emotion and in return change attitude among research participants (Rhodewalt, & Comer, 1979). This means that it would be possible to alter emotions of people that perceive certain tasks as boring to change their attitudes towards those tasks. Based on this understanding, this research paper tries to alter the emotions of research participants with an aim of altering their attitudes towards boring tasks (Boven, White, & Huber, 2009). It is presumed that once the mood of research participants is changed and expressed through smiling, the research participants can change their attitudes towards boring tasks and in return accomplish them.
A causal comparative research design was used in this research study. The design involved comparing the outcomes of the study with what the research participants did during the study. In particular, performance of boring tasks was compared with the presence or absence of smile on the faces of research participants. In this case, research participants were asked to identify whether they at any given time smiled during the study. They were also asked to state whether smiling had any significant effect on performing the tasks as well as how it did. Mostly, this research design is used when one wants to understand the relationship between cause and effect (McConnell, Rydell, & Brown, 2009). The design was most appropriate for the study because it compared the outcomes of the study and was able to show the relationship between smiling and performance of boring tasks.
Research participants were college students aged between twenty years and twenty-eight years. Thirty-five of these students were females whereas twenty-eight of them were males. The study was advertised on the college notice boards and students were asked to participate in it on voluntary basis. Three hundred students volunteered to participate in the study. Of these students only sixty-three of them qualified for the next stage of the study. The rest of the students did not qualify for the second stage of the study because they did not classify at least three of the tasks on the list as boring.
Three hundred college students were recruited in the study. They were provided with a list of six duties namely reading, washing dishes, washing clothes, mopping, making bed and dusting. From this list of duties, students were asked to classify the six duties as either boring or exiting. The tasks that were identified as boring by majority of the students were identified and used to evaluate the study’s hypothesis. Students that identified at least three of the duties as boring were allowed to proceed to the next stage of the study. These were the students that acted as research participants for the study. The rest of the students that did not proceed to the next stage of the study were simply thanked for participating in the first stage of the study. No formal reason was given to the said students so that those that remained in the study could not manipulate the study’s results. Research participants were told that they were just having fun participating in the study, but they would answer certain questions at the end of the study. In order to eliminate selection bias, research participants were randomly assigned to their groups. Each person was supposed to pick a folded paper from sixty-three folded papers that were developed at the start of the second stage of the study by researchers. Upon picking the papers, persons with number one on their papers were asked to form the first group. Those with number two were also asked to form the second group and so forth. Every person was supposed to stick to his/her group until the study was over.
The sixty-three students that participated in the final study were taken to a playing field. They were provided with story books to read, snacks to cook and eat as well as comedy materials to listen to as they accomplished their tasks. Three groups were provided with boring story books, they were not provided with comedy materials and they were not allowed to crack jokes as they accomplished their tasks. Three other groups, on the other hand, were provided with comedy materials, exciting story books to read and were allowed to crack jokes as they accomplished their tasks. The groups were stationed far from each other that they could not influence each other (Dael et al., 2016). After they had cooked snacks and taken them, the groups were asked to pack their utensils and prepare to leave. However, before the groups left the playing field researchers issued research participants with questionnaires to fill in. The questions contained in the questionnaire asked the students to identify whether they were able to read story books. Those that did not read story books were asked to give reasons. During this exercise, research participants were asked to fill questionnaires independently without consulting one another. The questionnaires were later on collected from research participants. In addition, the researchers evaluated whether group members washed their dishes or not.
Story books were hired from a bookshop that deals with second hand reading materials. A small fee was paid for these story books. On the other hand, snacks used during the study were bought from researcher’s savings whereas cooking utensils were hired from a neighboring hotel for a small fee as well. Research participants were not charged any money for participating in the study, but they were expected to fill in questionnaires at the end of the study.
Based on the fact that there would be six groups of people, the ANOVA method of analysis would be used to analyze the data. This research method analyzes the mean difference among different groups. Although t test would be the simplest to conduct, it would not be used because of the amount of analysis that would be conducted to establish the difference between the various groups. In collaboration with this method, descriptive research method would also be used to analyze the outcomes of the study. In this case, while ANOVA method would be used to analyze the mean difference between the groups, descriptive research method would be used to determine the gender composition and mean age of research participants among other attributes of interest.
55.5 percent of the research participants were female whereas 44.5 percent of the research participants were male. The mean age for the female participants was 24.5 years whereas the mean age for the male participants was 25.5 years. Of the six groups, two groups that were not provided with comedy materials and not allowed to make jokes during the study did not wash utensils they used during the study. The other four groups washed their utensils. With regard to reading story books, seventy percent of the research participants from the groups provided with comedy materials and were allowed to crack jokes during the study said that they read their story books. On the contrary, only thirty percent of the research participants from the groups that were not provided with comedy materials and not allowed to crack jokes during the study said that they read story books. The rest of the research participants claimed that they did not see the sense of reading the story books because those story books were boring. With regard to reading story books, the ANOVA demonstrated that there was significant difference between the groups of people that were allowed to smile and crack jokes during the study with the groups of people that were not allowed to crack jokes or listen to comedies during the study. On the other hand, there was no significant difference between the two groups in terms of washing utensils. However, it would be worth noting that the two groups that did not wash their utensils were the ones that were restricted from listening to comedies and cracking jokes during the study.
The main focus of the study was to establish whether people that accomplished boring tasks while smiling were likely to do better than their counterparts that were restricted from smiling. Right from the beginning, it was hypothesized that people that smiled as they accomplished boring tasks were likely to accomplish their tasks more than their counterparts that were not allowed to smile during the study.
In line with the previous studies, findings demonstrate that smiling is likely to change the mood of research participants towards boring tasks. In particular, these findings demonstrate that research participants that smiled during the study accomplished boring tasks more than their counterparts that did not smile as they performed their tasks. For example, findings demonstrate that research participants that read exciting story books enjoyed reading those books than their counterparts with unexciting story book. Although other factors may have influenced the outcomes of the study, it is possible that exciting story books that caused research participants to smile as they read story books could have inspired them to read more than their counterparts with unexciting story books. According to Rhodewalt and Comer (1979), it is possible that induced smile changed the attitudes of research participants towards boring tasks. In so doing, research participants reading exciting story books were prompted to reading more than their counterparts that had unexciting story books.
Previous studies have suggested that smile manipulation is likely to lead to positive affect that may increased brain performance. In line with this suggestion, it might be possible that research participants consider certain tasks as boring because they are never enthusiastic about these tasks as they perform them. In this regard, it might be possible that smile manipulation among the groups that were allowed to crack jokes and listen to comedies resulted to positive affect that increased brain performances for the research participants. In so doing, research participants were motivated to accomplish boring tasks without their knowledge (Davies, 1982). On the contrary, it might be possible that research participants in the groups that were restricted from cracking jokes and listening to comedies did not have anything to increase their brain performances. As a result, they did not see the need for performing the boring tasks.
Although other factors may have influenced the outcomes of this study, it is clear that smile manipulation could have played a significant role in making research participants perform boring tasks. In particular, it is possible that exciting story books altered the mood of research participants during the study, and in so doing, motivated to read. This indicates that instructors could use different methods to alter students’ mood thereby motivate them to work hard.
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