Women’s smiles are more friendly than men’s.

Researchers at the University of Bradford who mapped and analysed video footage of more than 100 people smiling, found that the female smile - typified by film stars such as Julia Roberts and Angelina Jolie - is much broader and expressive than that of the male.

I am not so much interested in this as to how - assuming the footage was captured in Britain - they found more than 100 people with smiles on their faces.

Nothing makes the British so happy as being miserable. Most of the time we walk about with heads bowed, looking as though we have just lost a winning lottery ticket. Those of us who wear a smile are rare creatures indeed, and those who do sport a grin have the grumpy majority wondering: “What have they got to smile about?”

‘I feel sorry for the Brits’, says American author Eric Weiner in his book ‘The Geography of Bliss’, ‘The happy are few, and regarded by others as suspect.’

He’s right. Weiner describes Britain as one of the gloomiest countries on earth, adding ‘Most Brits, I suspect, derive a perverse pleasure from their grumpiness.’

If scowling were an Olympic sport we would sweep the boards with gold medals. It’s part of our psyche. Coupled with moaning, it’s what we love to do most.

We never run short of subjects to whinge about: top of the list is the weather, closely followed by the Government, house prices and train delays.

Our reputation as a nation of moaners stretches across the globe. ‘How can you tell that a plane arriving at Sydney airport is full of Poms?’ goes the Australian joke, ‘Because it carries on whining long after the engines have stopped.’

Down Under we have been known as whingeing poms for many years, as we find reason to gripe about any situation we find ourselves in. Even good news is turned on its head, and we will invariably find a reason for it to be bad: Won a luxury cruise? What if the ship sinks? Got a promotion? It might be too stressful. Pregnant? Dreading those sleepless nights.

Far from smiling, our expressions are usually more Victor Meldrew than Julia Roberts. Why people pay a fortune at cosmetic dental clinics offering Hollywood smiles I do not know, because we Brits spend 99 per cent of the time with our mouths firmly shut, grimacing.

Not that there’s a great deal to smile about at present, what with bitterly cold weather, the cost of living soaring and nerve agents flying about in public parks. The future isn’t looking too rosy.

So where did the University of Bradford find these 100 smilers? Maybe they hung around outside the Alhambra after an uplifting show or at Valley Parade after a win. Perhaps they Blu-Tacked fivers to the pavement and filmed people finding them, or maybe someone stood on a busy corner with a really cute puppy. Or they might have simply used footage from the internet, and dismissed real people as far too down in the dumps.

It’s sad that we smile so little, because a smile - whether from a man or a woman - really does brighten up your day. Whether over the counter in a shop, on a bus or simply walking past someone in the street, if you are on the receiving end of a smile it never fails to lift your spirits.

Science has shown that the mere act of smiling can improve your mood, lower stress, boost your immune system and possibly even prolong your life. And, research has found, smiling also makes us more attractive.

But it’s not in our nature. We are British and we subconsciously realise that smiling might take away the fun of being miserable.