Signals of personality and health: the contributions of facial shape, skin texture, and viewing angle

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Jones, A. L. ; Kramer, R. S. S. ; Ward, R. (2012)
  • Publisher: American Psychological Association
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1037/a0027078
  • Subject: BF | C800 Psychology | C830 Experimental Psychology | C182 Evolution

To what extent does information in a person's face predict their likely behavior? There is increasing evidence for association between relatively neutral, static facial appearance and personality traits. By using composite images rendered from three dimensional (3D) scans of women scoring high and low on health and personality dimensions, we aimed to examine the separate contributions of facial shape, skin texture and viewing angle to the detection of these traits, while controlling for crucial posture variables. After controlling for such cues, participants were able to identify Agreeableness, Neuroticism, and Physical Health. For personality traits, we found a reliable laterality bias, in that the right side of the face afforded higher accuracy than the left. The separate contributions of shape and texture cues varied with the traits being judged. Our findings are consistent with signaling theories suggesting multiple channels to convey multiple messages.
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