Facial Appearance: Social and Personal Characteristics

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Cogsdill, E. J., Todorov, A. T., Spelke, E. S., & Banaji, M. R. (2014). Inferring character from faces. Psychological Science, 25(5), 1132-1139. 

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The study focuses on the relation between facial appearance and its effects on social judgments. The researchers conducted two experiments on how adults and children aged 3 to 12 attributed such qualities as trustworthiness, dominance, and competence of pairs of faces (Cogsdill et al., 2014). In both cases, judgments based on facial competence developed differently than those of trustworthiness and dominance (Cogsdill et al., 2014). Moreover, adults were not as effective as 7-10-year-old children in attributing nice/mean to competence faces. The given results demonstrate that the ability to judge others using facial information does not require extended experience or specific interactions (Cogsdill et al., 2014). The researchers conclude that faces can provide much information about a person, his/her traits, and qualities such as trustworthiness or competence.

Engell, A. D., Haxby, J. V., & Todorov, A. (2007). Implicit trustworthiness decisions: Automatic coding of face properties in the human amygdala. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19(9), 1508-1519. 

The authors of the article are concerned with trustworthiness because of its critical role in social interaction and environments. The decision of whether an unfamiliar person can be trusted is made using implicit evaluations of faces as people look for specific traits. The investigators used functional magnetic resonance imaging to prove the idea that the amygdala is responsible for these processes. The major purpose of the research was to determine whether the amygdala response is linked to certain ratings of trustworthiness and personal judgments of an individual (Engell et al., 2007). In the course of the research, they come to the conclusion that the given part of the brain plays a critical role in facial recognition and categorizes them using specific properties (Engell et al., 2007). It helps to elaborate an effective mechanism of social interactions, as an individual might engage in cooperation using signals sent by the amygdala.

Rule, N. O., Krendl, A. C., Ivcevic, Z., & Ambady, N. (2013). Accuracy and consensus in judgments of trustworthiness from faces: Behavioral and neural correlates. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104(3), 409-426. 

The authors of the research are interested in subjectivity or objectivity of judgments of trustworthiness peculiar to different individuals. The study assumes that people’s faces can predict behaviors in some domains or determine the degree to which a person can be trusted. Rule et al. (2013) conduct five studies to compare mechanisms of how people make their judgments and acquire specific conclusions. For instance, the experiment shows that inferences of trustworthiness made from faces of criminals do not differ from inferences linked to faces of executives (Rule et al., 2013). Moreover, similar results were observed between military criminals and heroes in the next study (Rule et al., 2013). This information shows that such judgments are not accurate and rest on some past experiences and subjective impressions peculiar to all people involved in the experiment (Rule et al., 2013).

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Sakuta, Y., Kanazawa, S., & Yamaguchi, M. K. (2018). Infants prefer a trustworthy person: An early sign of social cognition in infants. PLOS ONE, 13(9). 

The authors agree that facial appearance influences social evaluations and judgments and plays an important role in social contexts. However, they are interested in how this recognition mechanism is formed and evolves. For this reason, they conducted a study among 6- to 8- old infants to investigate whether they have specific reactions to faces that are considered trustworthy and untrustworthy (Sakuta et al., 2018). The given cohort was selected to trace the evolution of the skill and whether it demands specific preliminary or background information. The results showed more positive reactions among infants when trustworthy faces were demonstrated to them (Sakuta et al., 2018). Using this information, the researchers conclude that since the early development stages, human beings acquire the skills of facial recognition (Sakuta et al., 2018). Moreover, little social experience is needed to make such conclusions.

Suzuki, A., Tsukamoto, S., & Takahashi, Y. (2017). Faces tell everything in a just and biologically determined world: Lay theories behind face reading. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 10(1), 62-72. 

The authors revolve around the idea that faces are traditionally viewed as specific identifiers as they show the character of a person, his/her status, and role. Furthermore, numerous folk concepts focusing on faces and traits are linked to them (Suzuki et al., 2017). In such a way, face-based trait inference among laypeople can be affected by these factors. Using the results of studies conducted in the USA and Japan, Suzuki et al. (2017) state that the physiognomic belief is mainly linked to biologically deterministic views of personality. It means that faces and traits are correlated as people get faces they deserve, and which show as the manifestations of their nature (Suzuki et al., 2017). In such a way, following the existing folk beliefs, faces can serve as indicators vital for cooperation and interaction between people.

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Todorov, A., Olivola, C. Y., Dotsch, R., & Mende-Siedlecki, P. (2015). Social attributions FROM Faces: Determinants, Consequences, accuracy, and functional significance. Annual Review of Psychology, 66(1), 519-545. 

The authors assume that the analysis of the social and personal characteristics of a person can be linked to his/her facial appearance. During the first meetings, people need little time to arrive at a consensus and create a specific image of an individual (Todorov et al., 2015). In multiple cases, the accuracy of such attributions and conclusions is not appropriate and subjective (Todorov et al., 2015). However, people continue to assign a certain face to a specific social category which simplifies communication (Todorov et al., 2015). Moreover, multiple other factors influence this process, such as gender, age, class (Todorov et al., 2015). In such a way, the investigators conclude that judging on faces, most individuals make too much while they do not have appropriate information (Todorov et al., 2015). This mechanism is vital for social interactions and communication with strangers.

References

Cogsdill, E. J., Todorov, A. T., Spelke, E. S., & Banaji, M. R. (2014). Inferring character from faces. Psychological Science, 25(5), 1132-1139.

Engell, A. D., Haxby, J. V., & Todorov, A. (2007). Implicit trustworthiness decisions: Automatic coding of face properties in the human amygdala. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19(9), 1508-1519.

Rule, N. O., Krendl, A. C., Ivcevic, Z., & Ambady, N. (2013). Accuracy and consensus in judgments of trustworthiness from faces: Behavioral and neural correlates. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104(3), 409-426.

Sakuta, Y., Kanazawa, S., & Yamaguchi, M. K. (2018). Infants prefer a trustworthy person: An early sign of social cognition in infants. PLOS ONE, 13(9).

Suzuki, A., Tsukamoto, S., & Takahashi, Y. (2017). Faces tell everything in a just and biologically determined world: Lay theories behind face reading. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 10(1), 62-72.

Todorov, A., Olivola, C. Y., Dotsch, R., & Mende-Siedlecki, P. (2015). Social attributions FROM Faces: Determinants, Consequences, accuracy, and functional significance. Annual Review of Psychology, 66(1), 519-545.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, July 13). Facial Appearance: Social and Personal Characteristics. Retrieved from https://psychologywriting.com/facial-appearance-social-and-personal-characteristics/

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, July 13). Facial Appearance: Social and Personal Characteristics. https://psychologywriting.com/facial-appearance-social-and-personal-characteristics/

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"Facial Appearance: Social and Personal Characteristics." PsychologyWriting, 13 July 2022, psychologywriting.com/facial-appearance-social-and-personal-characteristics/.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Facial Appearance: Social and Personal Characteristics'. 13 July.

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PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Facial Appearance: Social and Personal Characteristics." July 13, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/facial-appearance-social-and-personal-characteristics/.

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PsychologyWriting. "Facial Appearance: Social and Personal Characteristics." July 13, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/facial-appearance-social-and-personal-characteristics/.