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July 2021

Facing faces: Studies on the cognitive aspects of physiognomy

Author(s): Trope, Y.

Journal/Book: J Personal Soc Psychol. 2000; 78: 750 First St NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, USA. Amer Psychological Assoc. 837-852.

Abstract: Physiognomy, the art of reading personality traits from faces, dates back to ancient Greece, and is still very popular. The present studies examine several aspects and consequences of the process of reading traits from faces. Using faces with neutral expressions, it is demonstrated that personality information conveyed in faces changes the interpretation of verbal information. Moreover, it is shown that physiognomic information has a consistent effect on decisions, and creates overconfidence in judgments. It is argued, however, that the process of ''reading from faces'' is just one side of the coin, the other side of which is ''reading into faces.'' Consistent with the latter, information about personality changes the perception of facial features and, accordingly, the perceived similarity between faces. The implications of both processes and questions regarding their automaticity are discussed.

Note: Article Hassin R, NYU, Dept Psychol, 6 Washington Pl, New York,NY 10003 USA

Keyword(s): ZERO ACQUAINTANCE; DISPOSITIONAL ATTRIBUTION; PERSONALITY JUDGMENTS; TRAIT INFERENCES; STEREOTYPES; INFORMATION; CONSENSUS; CONSEQUENCES; DETERMINANTS; COMPONENTS


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