Bethel students revisit yearbooks
Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 6:00 pm
Bethel University psychology faculty and students (from left) Dr. Audrey Sistler, Meagan Curtis, Dr. Ben Anderson, Amy Chadwick and Kristin Williams presented a study the group recently conducted at the Mid South Psychology Conference in Memphis
McKenzie – Bethel University psychology students Meagan Curtis of Trezevant, Kristin Williams of Camden, and Amy Chadwick of McKenzie presented a poster of their research findings at the Mid South Psychology Conference (MSPC) held at the University of Memphis in late February.
In their study of yearbook photographs, they found that before the 1960s, men and women were similar in their levels of smiling. However, in later decades, women were much more likely than men to have large smiles. They suggested that the growth of the women’s movement may have influenced these changes. The group began with a belief that women would smile more than men because women would want to portray the social expectations of being more nurturing and friendly. If women smile more because they are weaker in power (dominance-status hypothesis), then over time as gender roles have changed, sex differences would decrease. The group’s findings were somewhat surprising and did not support the dominance-status theory.
To test their hypothesis, the group randomly selected yearbooks from 1946 to 2000, coding 1,044 senior pictures. Smiles were coded as no smile, small smile, and big smile. In the 1940s and 50s there was NOT a significant sex difference in smiling: 44.7 percent of the men and 43.6 percent of the women had big smiles, but after the 1950s, there was a significant difference, with women smiling more: 74 percent of the women and 38.7 percent of the men had big smiles (χ2 = 97.86; p<.0001). The group speculates that this change could be partly due to the importance of the women’s rights movement during this time which resulted in a change in gender role norms. Instead of women smiling less, with a gain in power, they smiled more.
The Mid South Psychology Conference featured undergraduate research presentations from several universities around the region, including University of Memphis, Hendrix College in Arkansas, Bethel University and Union University. Bethel psychology faculty and students who attended the conference were Dr. Ben Anderson, Dr. Audrey Sistler, Angelic Douglas, Rachel Hughes, Kaci Lentz, Jennifer McCrury, Lizzy Sharpe, and Desiree Williamson.
, , ,