The relative contributions of facial shape and surface information to perceptions of attractiveness and dominance

Torrance, Jaimie S. and Wincenciak, Joanna and Hahn, Amanda C. and DeBruine, Lisa M. and Jones, Benedict C. (2014) The relative contributions of facial shape and surface information to perceptions of attractiveness and dominance. PLoS ONE, 9 (10). e104415. ISSN 1932-6203

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    Abstract

    Although many studies have investigated the facial characteristics that influence perceptions of others' attractiveness and dominance, the majority of these studies have focused on either the effects of shape information or surface information alone. Consequently, the relative contributions of facial shape and surface characteristics to attractiveness and dominance perceptions are unclear. To address this issue, we investigated the relationships between ratings of original versions of faces and ratings of versions in which either surface information had been standardized (i.e., shape-only versions) or shape information had been standardized (i.e., surface-only versions). For attractiveness and dominance judgments of both male and female faces, ratings of shape-only and surface-only versions independently predicted ratings of the original versions of faces. The correlations between ratings of original and shape-only versions and between ratings of original and surface-only versions differed only in two instances. For male attractiveness, ratings of original versions were more strongly related to ratings of surface-only than shape-only versions, suggesting that surface information is particularly important for men's facial attractiveness. The opposite was true for female physical dominance, suggesting that shape information is particularly important for women's facial physical dominance. In summary, our results indicate that both facial shape and surface information contribute to judgments of others' attractiveness and dominance, suggesting that it may be important to consider both sources of information in research on these topics.