The study - that helps to explain the enduring allure of "bad boys" and other iconic gender types - found dramatic gender differences in how men and women rank the sexual attractiveness of non-verbal expressions of commonly displayed emotions, including happiness, pride, and shame.
The study is also the first to investigate the attractiveness of displays of pride and shame.
'While showing a happy face is considered essential to friendly social interactions, including those involving sexual attraction, few studies have actually examined whether a smile is, in fact, attractive,' said Jessica Tracy of UBC's Dept. of Psychology.
'This study finds that men and women respond very differently to displays of emotion, including smiles,' added Tracy.
The study found that women were least attracted to smiling, happy men, preferring those who looked proud and powerful or moody and ashamed. In contrast, male participants were most sexually attracted to women who looked happy, and least attracted to women who appeared proud and confident.
The study has been published online in the American Psychological Association journal Emotion.