First impressions are largely influenced by our faces
Now scientists have modelled the specific physical attributes that underpin our first impressions. Small changes in the dimensions of a face can make it appear more trustworthy, dominant or attractive. The results, published in the journal PNAS, could help film animators or anyone looking to create an instant impression on a social network.
Dr Tom Hartley, a neuroscientist at the University of York and the study’s senior author, said the work added mathematical detail to a well-known phenomenon.
“If people are forming these first impressions, just based on looking at somebody’s face, what is it about the image of the face that’s giving that impression – can we measure it exactly?”
Three key dimensions of a first impression
- Approachability: how likely is this person to help (or hinder) me?
- Dominance: how capable is this person of carrying out those intentions?
- Attractiveness: is this person young and good looking – a potential romantic partner?
Positive first impressions are especially important in a world dominated by social media, from LinkedIn to Tinder.