August 2014
Volume 14, Issue 10
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2014
Are first impressions the same for male and female faces?
Author Affiliations
  • Clare Sutherland
    Department of Psychology, University of York
  • Julian Oldmeadow
    Psychological Science and Statistics, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Andrew Young
    Department of Psychology, University of York
Journal of Vision August 2014, Vol.14, 1275. doi:10.1167/14.10.1275
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      Clare Sutherland, Julian Oldmeadow, Andrew Young; Are first impressions the same for male and female faces?. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1275. doi: 10.1167/14.10.1275.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Models of first impressions from faces have emphasised two social attribute dimensions in particular: trustworthiness (approach/avoid) and dominance (capability). These face perception models bear a strong resemblance to social psychological models of group/stereotyping perception that describe similar dimensions of warmth and competence. We investigated whether these face and social perception dimensions are equivalent for first impressions of male and female faces. In a first study, we collected ratings of warmth, trustworthiness, competence and dominance (n = 40) for 1000 ambient image face photographs. We found that while trustworthiness and warmth ratings are highly related, dominance and competence ratings are less strongly related, especially for female faces. This can be seen as a stereotyping effect linked to negativity associated with female dominance, or in line with evolutionary models which posit that dominance impressions are especially important for male faces. In a second study, we examined whether male and female participants (n = 24) had similar first impressions from faces as well as establishing that our face gender differences were robust across participants. Ratings from male and female participants were highly correlated, indicating that facial first impressions are highly similar across participant gender, but not face gender.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014


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