The accuracy and meta-accuracy of personality impressions from faces

Bastian Jaeger, Willem Sleegers, Julia Stern, Lars Penke, Alex L. Jones

Research output: Working paperScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

People spontaneously judge others’ personality based on their facial appearance and these impressions guide many important decisions. Although the consequences of personality impressions are well documented, studies on the accuracy of personality impressions have yielded mixed results. Moreover, little is known about people’s meta-accuracy (i.e., whether they are aware of their judgment accuracy). Even if accuracy is generally low, meta-accuracy would allow people to rely on their impressions in the right situations. In two studies (one preregistered), we examined the accuracy and meta-accuracy of personality impressions. We addressed three crucial limitations of previous studies (a) by incentivizing accuracy and meta-accuracy, (b) by relying on substantially larger samples of raters and targets (646 participants rating 1,660 faces), and (c) by conducting Bayesian analyses to also quantify evidence for the null hypothesis. Our findings consistently suggest that people show neither accuracy nor meta-accuracy when forming face-based personality impressions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020

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