In 2010, OKCupid undertook a study to see which facial expressions elicited the most messages among its male and female users.
For women, they found, the best option was that flirty, pursed-lips expression commonly known as the “duck face.” As long as women were looking directly at the camera, a flirty duck face was even more enticing than a smile.
Even men who made a duck face while looking at the camera did about as well as men who simply smiled.
Then, in 2015, a group of scientists waded into the duck-face discussion. Researchers analysed 123 selfies taken from Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site similar to Twitter, and had each person whose picture was analysed complete a personality questionnaire.
Meanwhile, the researchers noted whether the person pictured was doing things like making a duck face or looking at the camera.
Results showed that those who made a duck face were more likely to be neurotic, which means they tend to be anxious and moody.
The researchers also asked 107 Chinese university students to look at the Sina Weibo photos and draw inferences about the people’s personalities.
As it turns out, the students assumed that those making a duck face were less conscientious, or less organised and hardworking — though the researchers didn’t find any evidence of that link.
So, to summarize: Online daters think duck face is hot; college students think duck face means you’re a slacker; and scientists think duck face means you’re emotionally unstable.
It’s hard to draw a general conclusion from these findings. Until then, it’s best to find a facial expression that you feel is flattering and not worry so much about what the rest of us think.
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