Integrating social and facial models of person perception: Converging and diverging dimensions

Clare A. M. Sutherland, J.A. Oldmeadow, A.W. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Web of Science)


© 2016 Elsevier B.V.
Models of first impressions from faces have consistently found two underlying dimensions of trustworthiness and dominance. These dimensions show apparent parallels to social psychological models of inter-group perception that describe dimensions of warmth (cf. trustworthiness) and competence (cf. dominance), and it has been suggested that they reflect universal dimensions of social cognition. We investigated whether the dimensions from face and inter-group social perception models are indeed equivalent by evaluating first impressions of faces. Across four studies with differing methods we consistently found that while perceptions of trustworthiness and warmth were closely related, perceptions of dominance and competence were less strongly related. Taken together, our results demonstrate strong similarity on the first dimension across facial and social models, with less similarity on the second dimension. We suggest that facial impressions of competence and dominance may represent different routes to judging a stranger's capability to help or harm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-267
Number of pages11
Early online date28 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


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