Attribution of social dominance and maleness to schematic faces

C. Senior1, J. Barnes1, R. Jenkins2, S. Landau1, M. L. Phillips1, A. S. David1
1Institute of Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom
2University College, London, United Kingdom
Cite this article:  Senior, C., Barnes, J., Jenkins, R., Landau, S., Phillips, M. L., & David, A. S. (1999). Attribution of social dominance and maleness to schematic faces. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 27(4), 331-338.

Volume 27 Issue 4 | e986 | Published: August 1999 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1999.27.4.331

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We report findings which suggest perception of ‘higher order’ attributes such as gender and social dominance are perceived from a schematic face. To investigate a large population, the first 2 experiments were carried out in both the traditional manner and on the Internet. Results obtained from both were not significantly different so the data sets were combined. Lowered eyebrow position was a strong indicator of both social dominance and the male gender. A schematic face with a sad mouth resulted in the face’s being viewed as less dominant and less male. Eye gaze direction also was investigated and discussed in terms of dyadic influence. Evidence supported the assumption that both social dominance and the male gender are perceived through similar facial configurations on a schematic face. Limitations include the use of schematic face pairs, and the presentation of single faces in research is discussed.


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