Fritz Strack

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Fritz Strack
Fritz Strack.jpg
Strack in 2015
Born (1950-02-06) February 6, 1950 (age 70)
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 at the University of Würzburg.[2] He was the lead author of a frequently cited 1988 study that provided apparent support for the facial feedback hypothesis. The 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.[3] In 2016, a study by a separate research team was published which failed to replicate the original study's results.[4][5] Strack himself suggested that the negative results of the newer study could have been because of its researchers' use of a video camera to record participants, which may have affected the participants' responses. He also took issue with the replication study's choice of cartoons from the Far Side.[6] Subsequent research has supported Strack's claim that participants knowing they are being recorded by cameras led to the replication study's negative result.[7][8]

In 2019, Strack was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for psychology.[9]


  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. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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. ISSN 1745-6916. PMID 27784749.
  5. ^ Engber, Daniel (2016-08-28). "Sad Face". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Paley, Christopher (2018-10-17). "Smiling does make you happier – under carefully controlled conditions". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  9. ^ "Who Are This Year's Ig Nobel Prize Winners?". BioTechniques. 2019-10-14. Retrieved 2019-10-20.

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