Can making faces mask your personality?

Posted on May 3, 2014

According to a group of University of Glasgow psychologists, Daniel Gill and colleagues, it can. Writing in the journal Psychological Science, these researchers say that human facial expressions can signal how dominant, trustworthy, or attractive we are - and that these 'dynamic' signals can mask or override the impression given off by the 'static' structure of the face.

In other words, someone might have a face that 'seems untrustworthy', but if they make the right face, they'll still look like someone you’d trust with your housekeys.

Gill and colleagues generated thousands of random expressions and got volunteers to rate each one for how dominant, trustworthy, and attractive it appeared. From all of these ratings they were able to determine the essence - or prototype - of, for example, a highly trustworthy look. Which, it turns out, involves the activation of the 'Dimpler', 'Lip corner and cheek raiser', and 'Sharp lip puller'.

Armed with these dynamic prototypes of dominance, trustworthiness and attractiveness, Gill et al then tested whether they could counteract the effects of static impressions of the same traits.

Click on the link below to read the full article

Source material from British Psychological Society

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