If you have a dream of quitting your job and going off to start your own business venture, being able to get that venture off the ground may depend on getting a loan, either through a traditional bank, or utilizing modern approaches like Kickstarter or Kiva. New research reveals that smiling in your picture will increase the amount of money you get, and how fast you get it.
Neurological Responses Govern Giving
A study out of Stanford University looked at the influence facial expressions in pictures had on the decision to give loans to that person. The researchers focused on the microlending website Kiva, where people are giving loans to people in order to finance small business or improvement projects around the globe. They reviewed 13,000 loan requests and compared the total amount the request received and the speed with which they received funding to determine the impact of a smiling photograph on lending behavior.
They categorized the pictures accompanying each loan request as one of eight emotions. Of these emotions, the only one that received significantly more loans than the average was “happy” pictures. A happy picture was loaned about $1.13 more per hour than the average, and the most positive pictures received a full $8.00 more per hour than the most negative pictures.
A Feel-Good Lending Place
Of course, we have to keep in mind that Kiva is different from many lending situations. The microlending site has a tagline “Loans That Change Lives.” People are going to Kiva with the purpose of making themselves feel good, which might mean they are more likely to focus on profiles that already make them feel happy inside.
It would be interesting to see a comparison between Kiva and other crowdfunding platforms — especially commercial as opposed to charity ones — to see if smiles had the same impact.
Can You Bank on Your Smile?
Despite the difference between Kiva and some other lending situations, it’s likely that your smile still has a significant impact on whether you get a loan or not. In many lending situations, the decision to lend the money or not can’t be decided just by factors on paper. Instead, the loan officer or others making the decision have to decide at least partly on the basis of how they feel about you.
And in this situation, showing a smile, especially an attractive smile, can put you under the influence of the angel effect, which can increase your odds of getting a loan. Therefore if you have a smile that you’re not comfortable showing in public, such as one damaged by trauma, it can be a significant impediment to your business venture. Cosmetic dentistry can give you a smile you’ll be proud to show off, which could give you better odds of success, though of course it couldn’t guarantee it.