speaker Yimin Cheng, Assistant Professor,Monash University time Friday, 31 May, 13:30-15:00
place Room K01, Guanghua Building 2

Marketing Seminar2019-07

Topic: Smiling Signals Intrinsic Motivation

Speaker: Yimin Cheng, Assistant Professor,Monash University

Time: Friday, 31 May, 13:30-15:00

Location: Room K01, Guanghua Building 2


The nature of a person’s motivation (whether it is intrinsic or extrinsic) is a key predictor of how committed they are to a task, and hence how well they are likely to perform at it. However, it is difficult to reliably communicate and make inferences about such fine nuances regarding another person’s motivation. Building on the social functional view of emotion and the evolutionary and psychophysical characteristics of facial expression of emotions, this research suggests that displayed enjoyment, as evidenced by the size and type of someone’s smile, can serve as a strong non-verbal signal of intrinsic motivation. Across five studies, taking the perspective of both actors and observers, we find that people infer greater intrinsic motivation when they see others display large Duchenne (vs. small) smiles, and that actors intuit this relationship, strategically displaying larger and more Duchenne-like smiles if they have an accessible goal to signal intrinsic (vs. extrinsic or no specific) motivation.


Dr. Yimin Cheng is a Lecturer (equivalent to Assistant Professor in North America) in Marketing at Monash University. He obtained his Ph.D. in Marketing from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Yimin has published in the Journal of Consumer Research and the Journal of Marketing Research. He has reviewed for the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Consumer Psychology, and Journal of Business Research, etc. His Ph.D. dissertation won the Honorable Mention Award (i.e., runner-up) in the Society for Consumer Psychology Dissertation Competition 2015-2016. Prior to joining Monash University, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at HKUST and a Visiting Scholar at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Yimin’s primary research interests include consumer beliefs, emotion, social motivation, morality and their influences on consumer behavior. His research is grounded in marketing contexts and stretches across fields of broader interest such as social welfare (e.g., healthcare, overconsumption), positive psychology (e.g., intrinsic motivation, diversity, elevation), morality (e.g., work ethics, fairness), and branding (e.g., brand story), etc. Yimin has used multiple methodologies including lab experiments, field experiments (e.g., in a restaurant), secondary data analysis (e.g., UNICEF database, World Values Survey, movie box office), content analysis (e.g., movie plot) and facial muscle movement coding, as he believes that different types of data complement one another and provide a better understanding of a phenomenon.

Your participation is warmly welcomed!

© 2019 Guanghua School of Management Peking University