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First impressions from faces: Integrating facial dimensions and social categories

Sutherland, Clare (2015) First impressions from faces: Integrating facial dimensions and social categories. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

When we meet a person for the first time, we can gain a wealth of information from perceiving their face - for example, their age, sex, ethnicity and level of attractiveness. However, we also make more subjective facial judgments of the character or personality of the person depicted as well; for example, by judging them on their trustworthiness or competence. Since these facial first impressions are linked to important real-life consequences, it is important that we have a solid theoretical understanding of which judgments are important and how they are made. Here, I first model the dimensions underlying first impressions made to highly variable, naturalistic photographs of faces and find three key dimensions: approachability, dominance and youthful attractiveness. I then examine how categorical facial information (such as the gender or culture of the face or perceiver) interacts with these key facial impression dimensions, finding that there are differences in the structure and evaluation of trait impressions by face and perceiver gender and culture. My findings demonstrate that while dimensional approaches have brought a useful guiding framework to the field of facial first impressions, categorical social groups also need to be included within these models. Specifically, while the functionality of key facial impression dimensions may be similar across social groups, the cues or specific traits underlying these dimensions seem to differ depending on the social group of the perceiver or target face.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Psychology (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.651276
Depositing User: Ms Clare Sutherland
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2015 15:58
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:32
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9225

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