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Selfies are getting scienc-y

By Sj.Cliff
Selfies are getting scienc-y

Some of us spend hours perfecting that pout in the quest for THE perfect selfie. But how can our facial expression affect the way we appear to other people?

Selfies representing us online, so the need to impress with them is becoming more important. They could land us a job, help us make friends and maybe a little bit more…

From a picture, our brains quickly begin to judge: can I trust this person? Are they nice? It isn’t clear how accurate these views are, but they can affect our behaviour.

York University’s Psychology department have analysed a thousand photographs online to create a model that reads facial features to predict first impressions!

From this, the uni has created cartoon-like images that produced predictable first impressions (without any social judgement) a.k.a the perfect selfie guide!

The study was published yesterday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS)!

Richard Vernon, a PhD student who was part of the research team, said: 

Showing that even supposedly arbitrary features in a face can influence people's perceptions suggests that careful choice of a photo could make (or break) others’ first impressions of you.

Fellow PhD student, Clare Sutherland, said: 

We make first impressions of others so intuitively that it seems effortless - I think it's fascinating that we can pin this down with scientific models. I'm now looking at how these first impressions might change depending on different cultural or gender groups of perceivers or faces.

Professor Andy Young, of the Department of Psychology at York, said:

Showing how these first impressions can be captured from very variable images of faces offers insight into how our brains achieve this seemingly remarkable perceptual feat.

Dr Tom Hartley, who led the research with Professor Young, added: 

In everyday life I am not conscious of the way faces and pictures of faces are influencing the way I interact with people. Whether in “real life” or online; it feels as if a person’s character is something I can just sense. These results show how heavily these impressions are influenced by visual features of the face - it’s quite an eye opener!

Tagged: university, study, selfie, science, photo

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