Perception of health from facial cues

Henderson, A. J., Holzleitner, I. J. , Talamas, S. N. and Perrett, D. I. (2016) Perception of health from facial cues. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 371(1693), 20150380. (doi: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0380) (PMID:27069057)

119737.pdf - Accepted Version



Impressions of health are integral to social interactions, yet poorly understood. A review of the literature reveals multiple facial characteristics that potentially act as cues to health judgements. The cues vary in their stability across time: structural shape cues including symmetry and sexual dimorphism alter slowly across the lifespan and have been found to have weak links to actual health, but show inconsistent effects on perceived health. Facial adiposity changes over a medium time course and is associated with both perceived and actual health. Skin colour alters over a short time and has strong effects on perceived health, yet links to health outcomes have barely been evaluated. Reviewing suggested an additional influence of demeanour as a perceptual cue to health. We, therefore, investigated the association of health judgements with multiple facial cues measured objectively from two-dimensional and three-dimensional facial images. We found evidence for independent contributions of face shape and skin colour cues to perceived health. Our empirical findings: (i) reinforce the role of skin yellowness; (ii) demonstrate the utility of global face shape measures of adiposity; and (iii) emphasize the role of affect in facial images with nominally neutral expression in impressions of health.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:A.H. is supported by a BBSRC studentship. D.P. was supported by a British Academy Wolfson Research Professorship.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Holzleitner, Dr Iris
Authors: Henderson, A. J., Holzleitner, I. J., Talamas, S. N., and Perrett, D. I.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN (Online):1471-2970
Published Online:11 April 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 371(1693):20150380
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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