Campus News

Prof. Barbara Held Featured in Smithsonian Magazine

Story posted August 03, 2007

Barbara Held, Barry N. Wish Professor of Psychology and Social Studies, appears in the August issue of Smithsonian magazine in Richard Conniff's article, "What’s Behind a Smile?"


The article looks at various facets of smiling, from facial dynamics and the origins of false teeth to the social and psychological ramifications of smiling and saying "I'm fine" despite feelings to the contrary. It concludes with an anecdote from Professor Held that reflects her widely quoted views on what she calls "the tyranny of the positive attitude."


Held has been quoted in newspapers across the country, including The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. She has also discussed the topic on NBC's Today Show. Click here for a link to the story and to see portions of the interview with Prof. Held.

Held's book, Stop Smiling, Start Kvetching: A 5-Step Guide to Creative Complaining (St. Martin's Griffin, 2001), in which she urges people to stop pretending that everything is fine, has been referenced widely in conjunction with Held's viewpoints. The book was the subject of another appearance on Today, in 2001.

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