Who is approachable?

Lynden K Miles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


The consequences of social interaction can be variable, sometimes harmful, but often rewarding. The adaptive social perceiver must therefore determine which interactions are worthwhile pursuing and which are not. The present research investigated whether subtle but meaningful differences in facial expressions are perceived in terms of the affordance of approachability. Participants engaged in simulated social encounters with targets displaying enjoyment smiles, non-enjoyment smiles or neutral expressions while fluctuations in their posture were measured. The results indicated systematic differences in perceived approachability as a function of facial expression and target sex. These findings are discussed in terms of the functional coupling between social perception and action with respect to the information that specifies the affordance of approachability. (c) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-266
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date20 Aug 2008
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009


  • person perception
  • approachability
  • smiles
  • postural sway
  • social affordances
  • enjoyment
  • responses
  • behavior


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