How often do bosses smile back to their subordinates? Do they smile back after considering at what level others are within the organization? Do people really pause and take time to think to express their natural expression of happiness? Gosh, that must be insane.
Well, It seems that this isn’t insane. They just mirror their status by withholding their smile to demonstrate their authority. Watch here Robert Lee Hotz, WSJ Senior Science Correspondent talking about the study released by Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans.
Study shows that status and authority shape the movement of our involuntary facial responses. And if you smile back to somebody superior to you, the study calls it as the “Boss Effect”. That is you unconsciously mimic the facial expression of another person, and appears it depends completely on how powerful your feelings are towards the person and his or her status.
This “boss effect” can vary by national culture. Chinese workers reacted fastest to a picture of their direct supervisor—but only if the boss had the power to give them a negative job evaluation, according to a study last year by Dr. Liew and colleagues at the University of Southern California and Peking University. By contrast, U.S. test subjects reacted most quickly to a supervisor whom they perceived as more socially influential.
So, what do you think? Do you think a boss doesn’t actually smile back to his subordinate because it is a reflection of his power? And are you obliged to mimic their expression to please him?