Summary of Why Do Americans Smile So Much?

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If you want to know what people are really thinking, Reddit is usually a pretty good place to start. When someone posed the question, “What’s a dead giveaway that someone is American?” Redditors delivered. The consensus was that people from the land of the free and the home of the brave walk around grinning like lunatics for no good reason. If Americans smile too much, some other cultures tend to lean toward the grim side. Why such a discrepancy in facial expressions? The Atlantic’s Olga Khazan digs into the research. getAbstract recommends this illuminating article to traveling businesspeople and expats.

About the Author

Olga Khazan is a staff writer for The Atlantic. She has also written for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Forbes and Wired.



The denizens of some countries smile less than others. Smile too much in Russia, and the locals will think you’re foolish. In another country, a smile could characterize someone trying to communicate his or her superiority. In yet another country, people tend to distrust a person who smiles for no reason. Meanwhile, in Finland, “When a stranger on the street smiles at you, a) you assume he is drunk, b) he is insane [or] c) he’s an American.”

A 2015 study found that immigration might be the reason behind all the grins. Researchers...

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