What does your appearance say about you?

Many people preach that “looks aren’t everything” and yes, when seeking a relationship with someone this is very true. A number of other factors influence such a bond, but how about first impressions?

Studies have found that first impressions are made up within 1/10 of a second after seeing a person’s face. This in turn causes us to draw conclusions on a number of different factors about the person, before we even have a conversation.

Judging a book by its cover

If within the first impressions you’re considered to be attractive by the other party, then fortunately for you, they will assume that you also have another handful of positive effects to go with your looks. This is known by social psychologists as “the halo effect” . This cognitive bias also means that people who are considered more attractive may be paid higher in the workplace.

Phrenology is back?

The bias doesn’t stop with your looks unfortunately, as next in line is the shape of your head. Researchers found that a longer face leads to people believing that they hold better leadership qualities.

Heightened testosterone within males creates a broader facial structure, and with higher testosterone generally comes a more aggressive personality. Building from this, those with a broader face structure were seen as stronger than those whose faces were more narrow.

All these traits which seem so subtle in hindsight play such a key part in developing an initial impressions of a person.

The face that gets you free

There have been studies that prove that facial features were pivotal in court at deciding whether or not the accused was guilty. A study published in Psychological Science showed that convicts with ‘untrustworthy faces’ were indeed more likely to receive a death sentence than a prison sentence.

What’s a ‘trustworthy face’? According to NYU, a neutral face resembling a happy expression likely to be seen as trustworthy – this suggests that it’s someone with high eyebrows and prominent cheekbones; we’re less likely to trust someone with a furrowed brow and sunken cheeks.

So, what about this face:

Health on your face

Not all facial details are bad though, in fact, certain markings can reveal whether or not you are in good health or bad. Older women with fewer wrinkles and more youthful faces were found to have a lower risk of heart disease than those who looked more aged. Discolouration or pigmentation in the eyes can also be a signifier of certain health problems.

So it turns out looks are everything. Everything from how trusting you are to how good of a leader you may be – your looks could even save your life in the future. So next time you wake up in the morning and decided not to brush your hair, just remember, it could be the difference between gaining someone’s trust and looking like a criminal.

Text by Julian Rosario


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