Personality judgments from everyday images of faces

Clare AM Sutherland* (Corresponding Author), Lauren E Rowley, Unity T Amoaku, Ella Daguzan, Kate A Kidd-Rossiter, Ugne Maceviciute, Andrew W. Young

*Corresponding author for this work

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50 Citations (Scopus)
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© 2015 Sutherland, Rowley, Amoaku, Daguzan, Kidd-Rossiter, Maceviciute and Young.

People readily make personality attributions to images of stranger's faces. Here we investigated the basis of these personality attributions as made to everyday, naturalistic face images. In a first study, we used 1000 highly varying "ambient image" face photographs to test the correspondence between personality judgements of the Big Five and dimensions known to underlie a range of facial first impressions: approachability, dominance, and youthful-attractiveness. Interestingly, the facial Big Five judgements were found to separate to some extent: judgements of openness, extraversion, emotional stability, and agreeableness were mainly linked to facial first impressions of approachability, whereas conscientiousness judgements involved a combination of approachability and dominance. In a second study we used average face images to investigate which main cues are used by perceivers to make impressions of the Big Five, by extracting consistent cues to impressions from the large variation in the original images. When forming impressions of strangers from highly varying, naturalistic face photographs, perceivers mainly seem to rely on broad facial cues to approachability, such as smiling.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1616
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2015

Bibliographical note

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research and/or authorship of this article: an ESRC studentship [ES/I900748/1] and postdoctoral research support from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, University of Western Australia (CE110001021), to the first author. The work was completed while the first author was at the University of York, UK. We thank Richard Vernon for calculating the attributes used in Study 2.


  • person perception
  • first impressions
  • face perception
  • personality
  • ambient images


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