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Fritz Strack

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Fritz Strack
Born (1950-02-06) February 6, 1950 (age 74)
EducationUniversity of Mannheim
Stanford University
Scientific career
FieldsSocial psychology
InstitutionsUniversity of Würzburg

Fritz Strack (born February 6, 1950)[1] is a German social psychologist and professor emeritus at the University of Würzburg.[2] Strack is a member of Germany's National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for psychology in 2019.[3]

He was the lead author of a frequently cited[4][failed verification] 1988 study that provided support for the facial feedback hypothesis.

Study on facial feedback[edit]

Strack's study asked participants to hold a pen in their mouths in such a way as to make them either smile or frown, and then had them rate how funny a series of the Far Side cartoons were. In this study, participants who were smiling rated the cartoons as funnier, on average, compared to those who were frowning.[5] In 2016, a study by a separate research team was published which failed to replicate the original study's results.[6][7] Strack himself suggested[8] that the negative results of the replication study may have been caused by its researchers' use of a video camera to record the participants' responses. He also took issue with the replication study's choice of the same cartoons that had originally been used in 1985.[9] Subsequent research has supported Strack's claim that participants knowing they are being recorded by cameras led to the replication study's negative result.[10][11] Further evidence has provided additional support for both the pen procedure and the validity of the facial-feedback hypothesis.[12][13]


  1. ^ "Fritz Strack Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). University of Würzburg. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-02-07. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  2. ^ "Prof. Dr. Fritz Strack". Lehrstuhl für Psychologie II. University of Würzburg. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  3. ^ "Who Are This Year's Ig Nobel Prize Winners?". BioTechniques. 2019-10-14. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  4. ^ "About the Cover". science.sciencemag.org. 18 May 2007.
  5. ^ Strack, F.; Martin, L. L.; Stepper, S. (May 1988). "Inhibiting and facilitating conditions of the human smile: a nonobtrusive test of the facial feedback hypothesis". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 54 (5): 768–777. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.54.5.768. ISSN 0022-3514. PMID 3379579. S2CID 15291233.
  6. ^ Wagenmakers, E.-J.; Beek, T.; Dijkhoff, L.; Gronau, Q. F.; Acosta, A.; Adams, R. B.; Albohn, D. N.; Allard, E. S.; Benning, S. D. (November 2016). "Registered Replication Report: Strack, Martin, & Stepper (1988)". Perspectives on Psychological Science. 11 (6): 917–928. doi:10.1177/1745691616674458. hdl:10481/63078. ISSN 1745-6916. PMID 27784749.
  7. ^ Engber, Daniel (2016-08-28). "Sad Face". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  8. ^ Strack, F. (2016). Reflection on the smiling registered replication report. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11(6), 929–930. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691616674460
  9. ^ Skibba, Ramin (2016-11-03). "Psychologists argue about whether smiling makes cartoons funnier". Nature News. doi:10.1038/nature.2016.20929. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  10. ^ Noah, Tom; Schul, Yaacov; Mayo, Ruth (May 2018). "When both the original study and its failed replication are correct: Feeling observed eliminates the facial-feedback effect". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 114 (5): 657–664. doi:10.1037/pspa0000121. ISSN 1939-1315. PMID 29672101. S2CID 4985655.
  11. ^ Paley, Christopher (2018-10-17). "Smiling does make you happier – under carefully controlled conditions". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  12. ^ Coles, N. A., Larsen, J. T., & Lench, H. C. (2019). A meta-analysis of the facial feedback literature: Effects of facial feedback on emotional experience are small and variable. Psychological Bulletin, 145(6), 610-651.
  13. ^ Marsh, A. A., Rhoads, S. A., & Ryan, R. M. (2018). A multi-semester classroom demonstration yields evidence in support of the facial feedback effect. Emotion, 19(8), 1500–1504.

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