Facial first impressions from another angle: How social judgements are influenced by changeable and invariant facial properties

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Abstract

First impressions made to photographs of faces can depend as much on momentary characteristics of the photographed image (within-person variability) as on consistent properties of the face of the person depicted (between-person variability). Here, we examine two important sources of within-person variability: emotional expression and viewpoint. We find more within-person variability than between-person variability for social impressions of key traits of trustworthiness, dominance, and attractiveness, which index the main dimensions in theoretical models of facial impressions. The most important source of this variability is the emotional expression of the face, but the viewpoint of the photograph also affects impressions and modulates the effects of expression. For example, faces look most trustworthy with a happy expression when they are facing the perceiver, compared to when they are facing elsewhere, whereas the opposite is true for anger and disgust. Our findings highlight the integration of these different sources of variability in social impression formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-415
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Psychology
Volume108
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2017

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Anger
Theoretical Models
Person
Emotional Expression
Disgust
Trustworthiness
Impression Formation
Attractiveness

Cite this

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title = "Facial first impressions from another angle: How social judgements are influenced by changeable and invariant facial properties",
abstract = "First impressions made to photographs of faces can depend as much on momentary characteristics of the photographed image (within-person variability) as on consistent properties of the face of the person depicted (between-person variability). Here, we examine two important sources of within-person variability: emotional expression and viewpoint. We find more within-person variability than between-person variability for social impressions of key traits of trustworthiness, dominance, and attractiveness, which index the main dimensions in theoretical models of facial impressions. The most important source of this variability is the emotional expression of the face, but the viewpoint of the photograph also affects impressions and modulates the effects of expression. For example, faces look most trustworthy with a happy expression when they are facing the perceiver, compared to when they are facing elsewhere, whereas the opposite is true for anger and disgust. Our findings highlight the integration of these different sources of variability in social impression formation.",
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T2 - How social judgements are influenced by changeable and invariant facial properties

AU - Sutherland, Clare A M

AU - Young, Andrew W.

AU - Rhodes, Gillian

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AB - First impressions made to photographs of faces can depend as much on momentary characteristics of the photographed image (within-person variability) as on consistent properties of the face of the person depicted (between-person variability). Here, we examine two important sources of within-person variability: emotional expression and viewpoint. We find more within-person variability than between-person variability for social impressions of key traits of trustworthiness, dominance, and attractiveness, which index the main dimensions in theoretical models of facial impressions. The most important source of this variability is the emotional expression of the face, but the viewpoint of the photograph also affects impressions and modulates the effects of expression. For example, faces look most trustworthy with a happy expression when they are facing the perceiver, compared to when they are facing elsewhere, whereas the opposite is true for anger and disgust. Our findings highlight the integration of these different sources of variability in social impression formation.

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