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Women have been observed to smile more than men in a variety of social contexts. In order to investigate the consequences of this sex difference for the way men and women are perceived, male and female college students rated the characteristics of men and women depicted in verbal descriptions accompanied by photographs in which they either smiled or did not smile. In control conditions these targets were rated without accompanying photographs. The findings showed that the absence of smiles had a greater impact on perceptions of women than on perceptions of men. When not smiling, women were perceived as less happy, less carefree and less relaxed than were men. Moreover, nonsmiling women were rated less happv, less warm, less relaxed and less carefree than the average woman, whereas smiling men were rated more favorably on those traits than the average man. These results suggest that different standards are applied to men and women. If women fail to perform expressive and warm nonverbal behavior, they will be evaluated more harshly than men.