Effects of facial skin smoothness and blemishes on trait impressions

B. Jaeger, F.M.A. Wagemans, A.M. Evans, I. van Beest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

People make trait inferences based on facial appearance, and these inferences guide social approach and avoidance. Here, we investigate the effects of textural features on trait impressions from faces. In contrast to previous work, which exclusively manipulated skin smoothness, we manipulated smoothness and the presence of skin blemishes independently (Study 1) and orthogonally (Study 2). We hypothesized that people are particularly sensitive to skin blemishes because blemishes potentially indicate poor health and the presence of an infectious disease. We therefore predicted that the negative effect of blemished skin is stronger than the positive effect of smoothed skin. The results of both studies are in line with this reasoning. Across ratings of trustworthiness, competence, maturity, attractiveness, and health, the negative influence of skin blemishes was stronger and more consistent than the positive influence of skin smoothness (Study 1). Moreover, the presence of skin blemishes diminished the positive effect of skin smoothness on attractiveness ratings (Study 2). In sum, both facial skin blemishes and facial skin smoothness influence trait impression, but the negative effect of blemished skin is larger and more salient than the positive effect of smooth skin.
LanguageEnglish
Pages608-625
JournalPerception
Volume47
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018

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title = "Effects of facial skin smoothness and blemishes on trait impressions",
abstract = "People make trait inferences based on facial appearance, and these inferences guide social approach and avoidance. Here, we investigate the effects of textural features on trait impressions from faces. In contrast to previous work, which exclusively manipulated skin smoothness, we manipulated smoothness and the presence of skin blemishes independently (Study 1) and orthogonally (Study 2). We hypothesized that people are particularly sensitive to skin blemishes because blemishes potentially indicate poor health and the presence of an infectious disease. We therefore predicted that the negative effect of blemished skin is stronger than the positive effect of smoothed skin. The results of both studies are in line with this reasoning. Across ratings of trustworthiness, competence, maturity, attractiveness, and health, the negative influence of skin blemishes was stronger and more consistent than the positive influence of skin smoothness (Study 1). Moreover, the presence of skin blemishes diminished the positive effect of skin smoothness on attractiveness ratings (Study 2). In sum, both facial skin blemishes and facial skin smoothness influence trait impression, but the negative effect of blemished skin is larger and more salient than the positive effect of smooth skin.",
author = "B. Jaeger and F.M.A. Wagemans and A.M. Evans and {van Beest}, I.",
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pages = "608--625",
journal = "Perception",
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Effects of facial skin smoothness and blemishes on trait impressions. / Jaeger, B.; Wagemans, F.M.A.; Evans, A.M.; van Beest, I.

In: Perception, Vol. 47, No. 6, 2018, p. 608-625.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Effects of facial skin smoothness and blemishes on trait impressions

AU - Jaeger,B.

AU - Wagemans,F.M.A.

AU - Evans,A.M.

AU - van Beest,I.

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - People make trait inferences based on facial appearance, and these inferences guide social approach and avoidance. Here, we investigate the effects of textural features on trait impressions from faces. In contrast to previous work, which exclusively manipulated skin smoothness, we manipulated smoothness and the presence of skin blemishes independently (Study 1) and orthogonally (Study 2). We hypothesized that people are particularly sensitive to skin blemishes because blemishes potentially indicate poor health and the presence of an infectious disease. We therefore predicted that the negative effect of blemished skin is stronger than the positive effect of smoothed skin. The results of both studies are in line with this reasoning. Across ratings of trustworthiness, competence, maturity, attractiveness, and health, the negative influence of skin blemishes was stronger and more consistent than the positive influence of skin smoothness (Study 1). Moreover, the presence of skin blemishes diminished the positive effect of skin smoothness on attractiveness ratings (Study 2). In sum, both facial skin blemishes and facial skin smoothness influence trait impression, but the negative effect of blemished skin is larger and more salient than the positive effect of smooth skin.

AB - People make trait inferences based on facial appearance, and these inferences guide social approach and avoidance. Here, we investigate the effects of textural features on trait impressions from faces. In contrast to previous work, which exclusively manipulated skin smoothness, we manipulated smoothness and the presence of skin blemishes independently (Study 1) and orthogonally (Study 2). We hypothesized that people are particularly sensitive to skin blemishes because blemishes potentially indicate poor health and the presence of an infectious disease. We therefore predicted that the negative effect of blemished skin is stronger than the positive effect of smoothed skin. The results of both studies are in line with this reasoning. Across ratings of trustworthiness, competence, maturity, attractiveness, and health, the negative influence of skin blemishes was stronger and more consistent than the positive influence of skin smoothness (Study 1). Moreover, the presence of skin blemishes diminished the positive effect of skin smoothness on attractiveness ratings (Study 2). In sum, both facial skin blemishes and facial skin smoothness influence trait impression, but the negative effect of blemished skin is larger and more salient than the positive effect of smooth skin.

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EP - 625

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SN - 0301-0066

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