On the Face of It: Social Heuristics Are Mediated by Age and Sex, But Not by Faciometrics

Robertson, Julia M and Kingsley, Barbara E (2020) On the Face of It: Social Heuristics Are Mediated by Age and Sex, But Not by Faciometrics. OBM Geriatrics, 4 (2). 0-0. ISSN 2638-1311

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The ability to situate individuals within social categories provides an important social function, allowing people to navigate problems of survival and reproduction within highly complex social structures. This categorization of people with apparently shared characteristics is facilitated by various cues, one of the most important being facial information. There has been a wealth of literature that reports on perceptions of characteristics informed by faciometrics (or the measurement of facial features and associated ratios), but little considers the impact of aging on these social heuristics. This study therefore considers the impact of age and sex on the perception of four characteristics, these being physical power, social power, intelligence, and warmth from a sample of 120 participants recruited online. Participants were asked to rate images for one of the four characteristics in 20 men and 20 women representing each of three age groups - young adults, adults in middle age and older adults. Analyses indicated that physical power is perceived to diminish in men (but not women), social power is perceived to increase in women (but not men), and intelligence is perceived to increase in both sexes, though whilst men are perceived to be significantly more intelligent than women in middle age, in old age women are perceived to be significantly more intelligent than men. Age was not shown to impact perceptions of warmth. Perhaps surprisingly, whilst ‘macro factors’ (age and sex) supported this social decision making, faciometrics, almost comprehensively, did not. It is suggested, then, that social heuristics rely on simple, quick and efficient stereotyped decision making through broad brush categorizations e.g. young, middle aged or old, male or female.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Aging, faciometrics, facial metrics, fWHR, social heuristics
Depositing User: RED Unit Admin
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2020 08:32
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2020 07:31
URI: https://bnu.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/18048

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