Title

The Face of Personality: Adaptive Inferences From Facial Cues are Moderated By Perceiver Personality and Motives

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-1-2018

School

Psychology

Abstract

Humans have historically been interested in understanding stable individual differences in behavioral tendencies, often referred to as personality traits. Recent work suggests that between‐person personality variability may be adaptive insofar as certain variations in personality constellations facilitate survival and reproduction across various types of groups and ecological niches. While past research has demonstrated that personality can be accurately inferred from self‐reports, other‐reports, and targets' past behavior, we discuss a more contemporary, yet understudied, means of personality inference: facial structure. We summarize research on personality traits that can be accurately inferred from facial structure, as well as how aspects of individuals' own personality, chronically accessible motives, and acutely activated goals lead to preferences for facially communicated personality that would aid in the satisfaction of these goals (e.g., higher need to belong predicts a stronger preference for faces whose structure communicates greater extraversion). We also discuss limitations of current approaches to understanding the relationship between perceiver personality and motives and their relation to perceptions of facially communicated personality as well as fruitful directions for future research.

Publication Title

Social and Personality Psychology Compass

Volume

12

Issue

8

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