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Facial features software program is aware of which Olympic medal makes you happier and why

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This Friday, when the Summer time Olympics start in Tokyo, gold, silver and bronze medals will probably be handed out in additional than 300 occasions. Prior analysis, utilizing human coding, has revealed that bronze medalists appeared happier than silver medalists. Nevertheless, students have debated the explanation why for years.

In accordance with new analysis from the Carlson Faculty of Administration revealed within the Journal of Experimental Psychology, facial features software program—which almost eliminates attainable bias—affords necessary perception. The analysis was led by William Hedgcock, an affiliate professor of promoting on the College of Minnesota’s Carlson Faculty of Administration.

Hedgcock and his group compiled the biggest dataset ever used to check this phenomenon and are the primary to make use of facial features software program. Altogether, they studied medal stand pictures of 413 athletes from 142 sporting occasions, representing 67 nations, throughout 5 Olympic Summer time Video games between 2000 and 2016. Utilizing industrial facial features software program, they in contrast the facial look of all three medalists each to what place they completed and the way they have been predicted to complete.

The outcomes replicated and expanded on what was beforehand discovered: bronze medalists have been extra more likely to exhibit a smile than silver medalists, whereas gold medalists have been happier than different medalists. Two explanations supported by the examine, each based mostly on what scientists check with as counterfactual pondering, are:

  • Silver medalists shaped an upward comparability to the gold medalists with ideas of “I virtually gained gold,” whereas bronze medalists shaped a downward comparability to a fourth-place finisher with ideas of “not less than I gained a medal.”
  • Medalists kind their ideas based mostly on what their expectations have been getting into the occasion, with silver medalists being extra upset as a result of their prior expectations for efficiency have been greater than bronze medalists.

“Now we’ve got a greater concept why athletes who did objectively higher, as in gained silver versus bronze, may seem much less joyful,” defined Hedgcock. “The notion of creating upward and downward comparisons not solely applies to Olympic medalists, but additionally to many elements of life similar to efficiency at work, college or when making purchases, for instance.

“Our expertise with this examine suggests the software program, which has primarily been utilized in managed settings, can be helpful for large-scale facial features research in less-controlled, real-world purposes,” commented Hedgcock with regard to this examine opening the door for extra analysis of this sort.


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Extra info:
William M. Hedgcock et al, Counterfactual pondering and facial expressions amongst Olympic medalists: A conceptual replication of Medvec, Madey, and Gilovich’s (1995) findings., Journal of Experimental Psychology: Normal (2020). DOI: 10.1037/xge0000992

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College of Minnesota


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