Social evaluation of faces across gender and familiarity

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Models of social evaluation aim to capture the information people use to form first impressions of unfamiliar others. However, little is currently known about the relationship between perceived traits across gender. In Study 1, we asked viewers to provide ratings of key social dimensions (dominance, trustworthiness etc.) for multiple images of 40 unfamiliar identities. We observed clear sex differences in the perception of dominance – with negative evaluations of high dominance in unfamiliar females, but not males. In Study 2, we used the social evaluation context to investigate key predictions about the importance of pictorial information in familiar and unfamiliar face processing. We compared the consistency of ratings attributed to different images of the same identities and demonstrated that ratings of images depicting the same familiar identity are more tightly clustered than those of unfamiliar identities. Such results imply a shift from image rating to person rating with increased familiarity, a finding which generalises results previously observed in studies of identification.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-486
Number of pages16
Issue number6
Early online date13 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

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  • face perception
  • familiar faces
  • first impressions
  • social evaluation

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