TUCSON, Ariz. - Are you cool? Have you tried to be cool and can't quite pull it off? A University of Arizona professor researched what really makes people cool and found the key is not what you probably think.
Our culture is obsessed with who's cool and how to make people think we're pretty cool too.
And people often think coolness calls for a frosty facial expression.
But do people really like it when someone strives to be all grim and squinty?
University of Arizona Marketing Professor Doctor Caleb Warren says, “There are a lot of authors and scholars who wrote that the way people become cool is being inexpressive by not showing emotion, concealing their feelings and so I wanted to test that."
Warren found if you really want to be cool, seem like you're open to other people---lighten up....and smile.
"In non-competitive situations being inexpressive doesn't make someone seem dominant. It makes them seem like a jerk. It makes them seem cold and ironically, being cold isn't cool."
He says coldness is only cool in very competitive situations like boxers trying to intimidate each other.
All this is really useful if you're trying to sell something, especially in the world of fashion.
Warren and his research colleagues created ads and showed them to people as a test.
Some showed models with that familiar no-expression model face. Others showed the same models with warm, open smiles.
He says, "We have four fashion advertisements where the model looks more cool when they're smiling than when they're inexpressive. As a result people like the brand being advertised more when they think the model's cool, when the model's smiling."
So the lesson here is if you really want to be cool, lose the icy stare and smile like someone people might want to know.