Blogs

UFC Fighters Who Smile Before a Fight Lose More

  • UFC Fighters Who Smile Before a Fight Lose More
    Gil Greengross Ph.D. Humor Sapiens 
    Smile as a sign of submission and lack of aggression
     

    Smiling can teach us quite a bit about a person. A person who smiles tends to be in a good mood, easygoing and is fun to be around. People with a genuine smile (called the Duchenne smile) invite us to engage with them, start a conversation or even signal theirromantic interest.

     

    One of the hypotheses about the evolutionary origin of humor stems from studying smile and laughter in other animals, especially primates. Observations by primatologists reveal that many of our closest relatives use a facial expression that is similar to a human smile, usually referred to as the silent bared teeth display. This display is distinct from another display called the relaxed open mouth, which we equate with human laughter.

     

    The silent bared teeth display among primates usually appears in fearful situations as a sign of submission after a fight between two individuals. The losing individual smiles to the winner and accepts his superiority to end the conflict.

     

    Well, if this display is observed in chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans and other apes, maybe it has a similar function among humans? A new study published in the journalEmotion wanted to test this by looking at whether smiles are signs of submission, and if individuals who do not smile are more likely to win fights. The researchers found a clever way to test this hypothesis by looking at pre-fight facial expressions of UFC fighters.

     

    The idea behind the study is that people who smile more or have more intense smiles, are less aggressive in nature and also tend to have lower testosterone levels, compared to those who smile less or have weaker smiles. Studies show that low status individuals smile more than higher status people, and in general, smiling is seen as a sign of appeasement. Based on these studies, the authors wanted to see if “smile intensity prior to a physical confrontation would unintentionally leak information about the reduced hostility and aggression of expressers, and thereby act as a sign of reduced physical dominance.” In other words, the hypothesis is that those who smile prior to a fight lack the aggression needed to win it, and the non-smiling fighter may conclude that his opponent is weak and submissive, which could motivate him even more and improve his chances of winning.

     

    To test their hypothesis, the researchers coded the smile intensity of 152 UFC fighters one day prior to their fight. The photographs were taken during the traditional face-off between the fighters. Four independent judges, blind to the study hypothesis, coded the smiles for intensity. The researchers also controlled for potential confounding variables, such as the gambling odds of the fight.

     

    The results showed that fighters who displayed a less intense smile won more fights. This was true for all fights, including the ones that were decided by a knockout. Interestingly, smile intensity predicted fight outcomes for the fights on the day after the photograph was taken but not for subsequent fights. This finding suggests that smile intensity does not necessarily reflect an individual personality trait, but rather is a situational cue that that has short-lived consequences. Think of it as the difference between having a humorous outlook that affects your life as a whole, compared to laughing in response to a specific joke that does not necessarily reflect your humor preferences.

    Continue Reading PsychologyToday.com

More Blog Entries

  • What are McGregor's chances of knocking Floyd Mayweather out? Depending on who you listen to - usually if they're an MMA or a boxing fan - either Conor 'The Notorious' McGregor's left hand will be a huge threat to Floyd Mayweather on August 26th, or he won't be able to lay a glove on arguabl...
  • Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather to box in 8oz gloves as NAC Approved CONOR MCGREGOR and Floyd Mayweather’s application to box in 8oz gloves has been accepted.   “McGregor can fight in any brand he prefers or chooses. I'll be wearing 8 oz Grant gloves. Whatever advantage McG...
  • UFC 1 Losers: Where are they Now?   For the Ultimate Fighting Championship, November 12 1993 represented genesis, and in the coming years, the brand would emerge as a realistic alternative to wrestling. The very first UFC event was also broadcast at a time when the very fabric of the hea...
  • These are the figures reported to the athletic commission. Champions also get PPV points and cut of the number of pay-per-views sold. Jon Jones: $500,000 (no win bonus)beat Daniel Cormier: $1,000,000 Tyron Woodley: $500,000 (no win bonus)beat Demian Maia: $110,000   Cristiane Justino: $...
  • Woodley vs. Maia at UFC 214 Wasn't the Lowest Strikes in a Title Fight Dana says here in the post fight presser that it's the least punches thrown in a UFC - 5 Round Title Fight. That is incorrect. STATS: Woodley landed 57, Maia landed 28 Totaling: 85 Demian Maia vs. Anderson Silva at UFC ...
  • UFC 214 takes place Saturday, July 29th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California Main Card (Live on PPV, 10:00 PM ET) -Jon Jones defeated Daniel Cormier by Knockout (Head Kick Finishing with Punches, Round 3, 3:01)-Tyron Woodley defeated Demian Maia by Unanimous Decision (50-45, 49-46, 49...
  • Mayweather vs. McGregor to be Presented Live in U.S. Cinemas Saturday, August 26   Fathom Events Partners with Mayweather Promotions to Deliver Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor Blockbuster to the Big Screen   DENVER – July 24, 2017 – The unprecedented showdown...
  • UFC on FOX 25 took place Saturday, July 22nd, at the NYCB Live in Uniondale, New York. Main Card (Live on FOX, 8:00 PM ET) -Chris Weidman defeated Kelvin Gastelum by Submission (Arm Triangle, Round 3, 3:45)-Darren Elkins defeated Dennis Bermudez by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)-Patrick Cu...
  • UFC Fight Night 113 took place Sunday, July 16th at the SSH Hyrdo Arena in Glasgow, Scotland.  Main Card (Live on FOX Sports 1, 3:00 PM ET) -Santiago Ponzinibbio defeated Gunnar Nelson by Knockout (Punches, Round 1, 1:22)-Cynthia Calvillo defeated Joanne Calderwood by Unanimous Decisio...
  • UFC 213 took place Saturday, July 8th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.   Main Card (Live on PPV, 10:00 PM ET)   -Robert Whittaker defeated Yoel Romero by Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)-Alistair Overeem defeated Fabricio Werdum by Majority Decision (28-28, 29-28, ...
View All