Cross-ethnic assessment of body weight and height on the basis of faces

Faculty/Professorship: General Psychology and Methodology  
Author(s): Schneider, Tobias M.; Hecht, Heiko; Stevanov, Jasmina; Carbon, Claus-Christian  
Title of the Journal: Personality and individual differences
ISSN: 0191-8869
Corporate Body: International Society for the Study of Individual Differences
Publisher Information: Oxford [u.a.] : Pergamon Press
Year of publication: 2013
Volume: 55
Issue: 4
Pages: 356-360 ; Illustrationen
Language(s): English
URL: https://10.1016/j.paid.2013.03.022
Previous research has revealed a strong relationship between mere visual facial cues and body weight. They can be exploited to validly judge the weight of the human body. We tested to what extent observers are able to judge body weight and height on the basis of same-ethnicity and different-ethnicity faces. Caucasian and Asian observers saw Caucasian and Asian faces and estimated the person’s weight and height – merely on the basis of greyscale photographs of the face. These height and weight estimates were influenced by ethnocentric specifics of familiar face proportion and face–body relationship. Ownethnicity weight estimations showed higher accuracy than foreign-ethnicity estimations. Observers ignored the changed base-rate for weight of other-culture faces in a culture-egocentric fashion. Height judgments, in contrast, reflect a higher degree of sophistication. A bias toward the own, familiar body proportion was visible here, especially for Japanese observers—however, the height judgments showed that observers were able to incorporate the other-ethnicity height proportion to some extent.
Keywords: face-specific processing, height, weight, cross-cultural ethnicity, nations, regions, Japan, Germany, physical measurement
Type: Article
Year of publication: 31. October 2013