While previous work has focused on the positive impact of smiles on interpersonal perceptions, this research proposes and finds that smile intensity differentially affects two fundamental dimensions of social judgments—warmth and competence. A marketer displaying a broad smile, compared to a slight smile, is more likely to be perceived by consumers as warmer but less competent. Furthermore, the facilitative effect of smile intensity on warmth perceptions is more prominent among promotion-focused consumers and in low-risk consumption contexts, while the detrimental effect of smile intensity on competence perceptions is more likely to occur among prevention-focused consumers and in high-risk consumption situations. Field observations in a crowdfunding context further indicate that the effects of smile intensity on warmth and competence perceptions have downstream consequences on actual consumer behaviors.

You do not currently have access to this article.