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How your Looks Betray your Personality.

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  • How your Looks Betray your Personality.



    Video: See the average New Scientist reader and more
    www.facesexperiment.co.uk. So, for example, the composite face from the women who had rated themselves as extremely lucky was paired with the composite from those who had rated themselves as very unlucky. More than 6500 visitors to the site attempted to identify the lucky, humorous, religious and trustworthy faces.

    From this it seems that women's faces give away far more than men. An impressive 70 per cent of people were able to correctly identify the lucky face, and 73 per cent correctly identified the religious one. In line with past research, the female composite associated with trustworthiness was also accurately identified, with a statistically significant 54 per cent success rate. Only one of the female composites was not correctly identified - the one from the women who assessed themselves as humorous.

    The results for the male composites were very different. Here, our respondents failed to identify any of the composites correctly. The images identified with being humorous, trustworthy and religious all came in around chance, whilst the lucky composite was only correctly identified 22 per cent of the time. This suggests that our perception of lucky-looking male faces is at odds with reality.

    Why should these big sex differences have emerged? Perhaps female faces are simply more informative than male ones. It could also be that the men who sent us their portraits were less insightful when rating their personalities or less honest. Or perhaps the women were more thoughtful when selecting the photographs they submitted.

    The results of our pilot study were fascinating and should hopefully pave the way for additional work. They show that people readily associate facial appearance with certain personality traits, and suggest that there may be a kernel of truth in their judgements.

    Our findings explored some dimensions not usually examined in this kind of research, and raise the intriguing possibility that, among women at least, subtle aspects of an individual's personality may indeed be written all over her face.

    Roger Highfield is the editor of New Scientist

    Richard Wiseman is a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, UK

    Rob Jenkins is a psychologist at the University of Glasgow, UK

    New Scientist.

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