Limits...
Do characteristics of faces that convey trustworthiness and dominance underlie perceptions of criminality?

Flowe HD - PLoS ONE (2012)

Bottom Line: This study extends past research by demonstrating that morphological features that signal high dominance and low trustworthiness can also signal high criminality.On the other hand, such evaluations could inappropriately influence decision making in criminal identification lineups.Hence, additional research is needed to discover whether and how people can avoid making evaluations regarding criminality from a person's facial appearance.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom. hf49@le.ac.uk

ABSTRACT

Background: This study tested whether the 2D face evaluation model proposed by Oosterhof and Todorov can parsimoniously account for why some faces are perceived as more criminal-looking than others. The 2D model proposes that trust and dominance are spontaneously evaluated from features of faces. These evaluations have adaptive significance from an evolutionary standpoint because they indicate whether someone should be approached or avoided.

Method: Participants rated the emotional state, personality traits, and criminal appearance of faces shown in photographs. The photographs were of males and females taken under naturalistic conditions (i.e., police mugshots) and highly controlled conditions. In the controlled photographs, the emotion display of the actor was systematically varied (happy expression, emotionally neutral expression, or angry expression).

Results: Both male and female faces rated high in criminal appearance were perceived as less trustworthy and more dominant in police mugshots as well as in photographs taken under highly controlled conditions. Additionally, emotionally neutral faces were deemed as less trustworthy if they were perceived as angry, and more dominant if they were morphologically mature. Systematically varying emotion displays also affected criminality ratings, with angry faces perceived as the most criminal, followed by neutral faces and then happy faces.

Conclusion: The 2D model parsimoniously accounts for criminality perceptions. This study extends past research by demonstrating that morphological features that signal high dominance and low trustworthiness can also signal high criminality. Spontaneous evaluations regarding criminal propensity may have adaptive value in that they may help us to avoid someone who is physically threatening. On the other hand, such evaluations could inappropriately influence decision making in criminal identification lineups. Hence, additional research is needed to discover whether and how people can avoid making evaluations regarding criminality from a person's facial appearance.

Show MeSH
Mean (±1 SE) criminal appearance ratings of the controlled faces by emotional expression condition and actor gender.Examples of the male face stimuli are presented along the x-axis for each emotion condition. Female stimuli not shown; visit http://www.socsci.ru.nl:8180/RaFD2/RaFD?p=main for further information about the face stimuli.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection


getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3366989&req=5

pone-0037253-g003: Mean (±1 SE) criminal appearance ratings of the controlled faces by emotional expression condition and actor gender.Examples of the male face stimuli are presented along the x-axis for each emotion condition. Female stimuli not shown; visit http://www.socsci.ru.nl:8180/RaFD2/RaFD?p=main for further information about the face stimuli.

Mentions: The final set of analyses examined the effects of overt emotional expressions on perceptions of criminality. Faces should appear more criminal when they portray a negative emotional expression. The criminal appearance ratings were submitted to a 2 (gender) x 3 (emotional expression) mixed ANOVA, with actor gender as the between groups factor and emotional expression as the within groups factor. Descriptive statistics for this analysis are presented in Figure 3. Criminal appearance ratings significantly varied depending on emotional expression, F(2, 74) = 44.95, p<.01, ηp2 = .55. In keeping with prediction, happy expressions were associated with lower criminality ratings compared to neutral (t(38) = 6.25, p<.01) and angry expressions (t(38) = 11.14, p<.01). Angry faces were also rated as more criminal in appearance compared to neutral faces (t(38) = 2.26, p<.05). Additionally, a significant main effect for gender was found, F(1, 37) = 5.02, p<.05, ηp2 = .12. Male actors were given higher criminal appearance ratings on average compared to female actors (M = 3.76 versus M = 3.49, respectively). Emotional expression and gender did not interact significantly. Taken together, these results are consistent with the hypothesis that perceptions of criminality are influenced by emotional expression, with faces that have angry expressions being perceived as more criminal-looking.


Do characteristics of faces that convey trustworthiness and dominance underlie perceptions of criminality?

Flowe HD - PLoS ONE (2012)

Mean (±1 SE) criminal appearance ratings of the controlled faces by emotional expression condition and actor gender.Examples of the male face stimuli are presented along the x-axis for each emotion condition. Female stimuli not shown; visit http://www.socsci.ru.nl:8180/RaFD2/RaFD?p=main for further information about the face stimuli.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3366989&req=5

pone-0037253-g003: Mean (±1 SE) criminal appearance ratings of the controlled faces by emotional expression condition and actor gender.Examples of the male face stimuli are presented along the x-axis for each emotion condition. Female stimuli not shown; visit http://www.socsci.ru.nl:8180/RaFD2/RaFD?p=main for further information about the face stimuli.
Mentions: The final set of analyses examined the effects of overt emotional expressions on perceptions of criminality. Faces should appear more criminal when they portray a negative emotional expression. The criminal appearance ratings were submitted to a 2 (gender) x 3 (emotional expression) mixed ANOVA, with actor gender as the between groups factor and emotional expression as the within groups factor. Descriptive statistics for this analysis are presented in Figure 3. Criminal appearance ratings significantly varied depending on emotional expression, F(2, 74) = 44.95, p<.01, ηp2 = .55. In keeping with prediction, happy expressions were associated with lower criminality ratings compared to neutral (t(38) = 6.25, p<.01) and angry expressions (t(38) = 11.14, p<.01). Angry faces were also rated as more criminal in appearance compared to neutral faces (t(38) = 2.26, p<.05). Additionally, a significant main effect for gender was found, F(1, 37) = 5.02, p<.05, ηp2 = .12. Male actors were given higher criminal appearance ratings on average compared to female actors (M = 3.76 versus M = 3.49, respectively). Emotional expression and gender did not interact significantly. Taken together, these results are consistent with the hypothesis that perceptions of criminality are influenced by emotional expression, with faces that have angry expressions being perceived as more criminal-looking.

Bottom Line: This study extends past research by demonstrating that morphological features that signal high dominance and low trustworthiness can also signal high criminality.On the other hand, such evaluations could inappropriately influence decision making in criminal identification lineups.Hence, additional research is needed to discover whether and how people can avoid making evaluations regarding criminality from a person's facial appearance.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom. hf49@le.ac.uk

ABSTRACT

Background: This study tested whether the 2D face evaluation model proposed by Oosterhof and Todorov can parsimoniously account for why some faces are perceived as more criminal-looking than others. The 2D model proposes that trust and dominance are spontaneously evaluated from features of faces. These evaluations have adaptive significance from an evolutionary standpoint because they indicate whether someone should be approached or avoided.

Method: Participants rated the emotional state, personality traits, and criminal appearance of faces shown in photographs. The photographs were of males and females taken under naturalistic conditions (i.e., police mugshots) and highly controlled conditions. In the controlled photographs, the emotion display of the actor was systematically varied (happy expression, emotionally neutral expression, or angry expression).

Results: Both male and female faces rated high in criminal appearance were perceived as less trustworthy and more dominant in police mugshots as well as in photographs taken under highly controlled conditions. Additionally, emotionally neutral faces were deemed as less trustworthy if they were perceived as angry, and more dominant if they were morphologically mature. Systematically varying emotion displays also affected criminality ratings, with angry faces perceived as the most criminal, followed by neutral faces and then happy faces.

Conclusion: The 2D model parsimoniously accounts for criminality perceptions. This study extends past research by demonstrating that morphological features that signal high dominance and low trustworthiness can also signal high criminality. Spontaneous evaluations regarding criminal propensity may have adaptive value in that they may help us to avoid someone who is physically threatening. On the other hand, such evaluations could inappropriately influence decision making in criminal identification lineups. Hence, additional research is needed to discover whether and how people can avoid making evaluations regarding criminality from a person's facial appearance.

Show MeSH