How Your Looks Betray Your Personality

Roger Highfield, Richard Wiseman and Rob Jenkins, New Scientist, February 11, 2009

{snip}

First impressions are highly influential, despite the well-worn admonition not to judge a book by its cover. Within a tenth of a second of seeing an unfamiliar face we have already made a judgement about its owner’s character–caring, trustworthy, aggressive, extrovert, competent and so on (Psychological Science, vol 17, p 592). Once that snap judgement has formed, it is surprisingly hard to budge. What’s more, different people come to strikingly similar conclusions about a particular face–as shown in our own experiment (see “The New Scientist face experiment”).

{snip}

Is there any substance to such snap judgements? Are dominant-looking people really more dominant? Are baby-faced people naive? Are we electing the most competent leaders, or simply people who look the part? As psychologist Alexander Todorov of Princeton University points out, the fact that different people come to remarkably similar conclusions about a particular face is very different from saying there is a correspondence between a face and something real in an individual’s personality.

{snip}

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.

Comments are closed.