There’s a video over at TED that has received over 1.2 million views entitled, The Hidden Power of Smiling by Ron Gutman. It’s only 7 1/2 minutes long, so it’s worth a quick view (below) if you haven’t already seen it.
The premise of the video is simple — smiling can help you lead a happier, healthier life and lead to all sorts of positive outcomes. The research even says so!
The problem? Mr. Gutman has done what a lot of laypeople do — confused correlation with causation, press releases with scientific studies, and interpreted research results in a way the researchers themselves never did.
For good reason — longitudinal and historical research (the type Gutman cites time and time again in his presentation) generally can rarely speak to causation.
So while it’s good for a engaging soundbite at TED (and a followup book), it’s also dead wrong and an example of someone promulgating science at the behest of a “feel good” finding.
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