Resting Rich Face
Your resting expression may reveal your socio-economic status.
Your neutral expression may tell people how well-off you are, according to a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology by Nicholas Rule and Thora Bjornsdottir of the University of Toronto. They assert that eventually the expressions we make most often become etched in our faces, and that others see a positive-looking resting face as signifying a lifetime of wealth and satisfaction. Certainly a case could be made that the opposite — anxiety and worry — would leave telltale signs behind.
The study “indicates that something as subtle as the signals in your face about your social class can actually then perpetuate it," Bjornsdottir tells the University of Toronto's Medical Xpress. "Those first impressions can become a sort of self-fulfilling prophesy. It's going to influence your interactions and the opportunities you have."
Their study involved two sets of students. For the first, they separated students into economic brackets based on their annual family incomes. They were most interested in the faces of students either definitively above or below a median income of $75,000. The gathered students with family incomes under $60,000 into one group and students from families with incomes over $100,000 in another. The researchers then took portrait photos of each group's students posing as expressionlessly as possible.
University of Toronto library (UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO)
A second set of students was then asked to say whether each of the photographs showed a “rich or poor" student. About 53% of the time, a higher percentage than random chance would predict, they got it right. The researchers say that race and gender were not found to be a factor, nor was how quickly or slowly the students made their assessments. Bjornsdottir explains that, "People are not really aware of what cues they are using when they make these judgments. If you ask them why, they don't know. They are not aware of how they are doing this."
Rule tells MedicalXpress, "There are neurons in the brain that specialize in facial recognition. The face is the first thing you notice when you look at somebody. We see faces in clouds, we see faces in toast. We are sort of hardwired to look for face-like stimuli. And this is something people pick up very quickly. And they are consistent, which is what makes it statistically significant."
If the findings are correct, it's disturbing to think how little our carefully designed demeanor. and appearance may help, and how early in life we may be marked as belonging to a particular economic class. “What we're seeing is students who are just 18–22 years old have already accumulated enough life experience that it has visibly changed and shaped their face," says Rule, “to the point you can tell what their socio-economic standing or social class is."
"People talk about the cycle of poverty, and this is potentially one contributor to that," Rule suggests, noting that where you come from may not be as easy to fake as you think: "Over time, your face comes to permanently reflect and reveal your experiences. Even when we think we're not expressing something, relics of those emotions are still there."
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
It's one factor that can help explain the religiosity gap.
- Sociologists have long observed a gap between the religiosity of men and women.
- A recent study used data from several national surveys to compare religiosity, risk-taking preferences and demographic information among more than 20,000 American adolescents.
- The results suggest that risk-taking preferences might partly explain the gender differences in religiosity.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.
- When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
- Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
- Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.