Psychology 1000 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Collagen, Menopause, Puffy Amiyumi
SchoolUniversity of Lethbridge
Course CodePsychology 1000
Science is a set of methods that are used to understand the world. This is developed through experiments, theories, and
Pseudoscience is a set of beliefs or practices used that are mistaken for science.
An example of this would be hypnosis, or alchemy.
Physiognomy is the study of reading of facial features to see what qualities that these people have.
Reading and responding to faces is one of our most characteristic traits as primates. We have much flatter faces; we rely more on
vision than on smell. We have finer muscular musculature, and therefore, can produce different facial features.
Faces are very salient for us, and social primates.
We are drawn to faces, and with that bias, we come to an understanding with each other, especially for how we are feeling.
Facial “Loss” and sense of self
Our sense of self is very much tied to the ability to express ourselves through our faces. People who lose their ability to
create expression feel like they lose themselves. This is partly due to the fat that people tend to not look at people who
have facial disfigurement, and therefore, those who lose it, fell like they lose their humanity.
Archibald Mcindoe was a WWII surgeon, and helped create plastic surgery. he wanted to give back their souls as well as
“The relation between a person’s face and his or her personality and self, a relationship so fundamental and given that had
never previously doubted or thought about it.” - Jonathan Cole, About Face
Can we read faces?
Certain things can be read from faces, especially lifestyle factors.
This is especially true of smokers, who develop “smoker’s face.” Smoking prevents oxygen getting to your skin, and
causes a purple tone, and collagen doesn’t get there, so you age faster, etc. The Scotland Government then used
composites to appeal to people’s vanity in an attempt to cut down on smoking, showing what they would look like in
a couple of years when they smoked/or if they didn’t smoke.
Can we identify accurately personality traits?
In the middle ages, you could study palmistry, Physiognomy, etc in university.
Aristotle wrote that you could look for certain characteristic of animals, and those who shared those characteristics, shared
those characteristics of those animals. Eg. Hawk-noses were like hawks, in that they would be fierce, and sharp. If you had
catlike features, then you had more feline traits, like being solitary.
These things then became more inflated, and more personality traits could be delved from this. You could distinguish
things from their faces alone. Aquasorbitivness was a relish for water, in drinking, bathing, etc." It shows the face as a
rounding of puffy fullness of the cheeks, from one half to three fourths of an inch outwards, and slightly upwards from
the mouth that is part of the face where the love of liquid first manifests itself.”
These things would pop up in popular culture; this is especially true in Jane Eyre. If you wanted to convey something
about somebody’s character, you alluded to their characteristics in their face. If they had a full mouth, then they were
a bit racy. A heroine had even features, pale skin, small mouth, etc. Jane Eyre herself was not this typical heroine. By
giving a self description, we then knew that her behaviour was going to be irregular, because her features were
Sir Francis Galton was massively scientific about it. He was Charles Darwin’s cousin. He invented certain aspects of statistical
testing. He was a social darwinist. He thought you could breed a better quality human race.
He would take photographic plates, and develop several exposures of different faces; he thought that if you did that,
you could average faces. What differs across individuals, will disappear, and the average will remain. He did this with
thieves, to see what the average thief would look like. However, this only lead to making average faces, and this
meant that the idea that consistent features were associated with traits was false.
He attempted to make Physiognomy a science.
He would also try to do it with aspects of health, thought again, this technique would fail him in that as well.
In the early 20’s, a study was done. They would try to match up facial features with personality traits. Instead, they found that
“the psychical factors purporting to measure the same trait do not present even a suspicion of agreement. The correlation
between ratings of casual observers and physical measures is best represented by 0.000”
People (up to 75%) believe that we can tell a person’s personality by their face alone, even though there is no evidence for it.
In a study in 2005 by Todorov, showed politician’s faces. They were asked who looked more competent. The people tended
to go for more mature, more masculine features. Another study done by Rule and Ambady in 2008 asked who was more
competent. There is something that people detect and pick up.
This may be because, according to George Orwell, “at fifty everyone has the face they deserve.” If you walk around
grumpy for fifty years, then at fifty, we can detect this, because you settle into this.
We are also able to generalize.
“Kindenschema” or “the baby scheme” is an argument that all babies, especially birds and mammals, tend to look
cute, which releases this nurturing response in us. Babies of all species have cute features, with smaller noses, bigger
eyes, smaller chins, etc. This cute response is take to be have a need to be looked after, etc.
In a UK study with babies, young, pre-menoposal women preferred the “cuter baby”. Men and post-
menopausal women didn’t.
Cuteness and femininity are connected; in a study, female babies are “cuter” than males.
There’s a kernel of truth to Physiognomy then.
The less agreeable, more machiavellian you are, the higher your accuracy.
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