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The secret of the perfect selfie

Mail Online

Ever thought about the science behind taking the perfect #SELFIE? No you didn’t? Oh, well that’s ok.  Just incase you’re wondering about how to take better #SELFIES, there IS a science to it…

Check out this article from dailymail.co.uk that even includes a video!

– @djWillCalder

The secret of the perfect selfie: Researchers reveal the facial features that are key to first impressions

  • Team created ‘guide’ images showing the three factors we use to create first impressions – Approachability, dominance and youthful-attractiveness
  • Shape of jaw, mouth, eyes, or cheekbones are key to three factors

Researchers have revealed exactly what facial features lead us to create a first impression of someone – ans say it could change the way we take selfies.

They say even in a single image such as a selfie, small changes in the dimensions of a face can make it appear more trustworthy, dominant or attractive.

For the first time researchers have now discovered the features that are associated with particular social judgements.

Scroll down for video 

We judge faces on three factors, the researchers say -  Approachability, dominance and youthful-attractiveness. Here, faces are ranked from least on the left to most on the right in a 'key' allowing researchers to rank faces.

FIRST IMPRESSION FACTORS

First impressions are created by three distinct factors:

Approachability (do they want to help or harm me?)

Dominance (can they help or harm me?)

Youthful-attractiveness (perhaps representing whether they’d be a good romantic partner – or a rival)

The new study by researchers in the Department of Psychology at the University of York shows that it is possible to accurately predict first impressions using measurements of physical features in everyday images of faces, such as those found on social media.

‘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,’ said Professor Andy Young, of the Department of Psychology at York.

When we look at a picture of a face we rapidly form judgements about a person’s character, for example whether they are friendly, trustworthy or competent.

Even though it is not clear how accurate they are, these first impressions can influence our subsequent behaviour (for example, judgements of competence based on facial images can predict election results).

The impressions we create through images of our faces (‘avatars’ or ‘selfies’) are becoming more and more important in a world where we increasingly get to know one another online rather than in the flesh, the researchers say.

Previous research has shown that many different judgements can be boiled down to three distinct ‘dimensions': approachability (do they want to help or harm me?), dominance (can they help or harm me?) and youthful-attractiveness (perhaps representing whether they’d be a good romantic partner – or a rival!).

To investigate the basis for these judgements the research team took ordinary photographs from the web and analyzed physical features of the faces to develop a model that could accurately predict first impressions.

HOW THEY DID IT

The team analysed hundreds of data points on each face

The team analysed hundreds of data points on each face

To investigate the basis for these judgements the research team took ordinary photographs from the web and analyzed physical features of the faces to develop a model that could accurately predict first impressions.

Each of 1,000 faces was described in terms of 65 different features such as “eye height”, “eyebrow width” and so on. By combining these measures the model could explain more than half of the variation in human raters’ social judgements of the same faces.

Reversing the process it was also possible to create new cartoon-like faces that produced predictable first impressions in a new set of judges.

These images also illustrate the features that are associated with particular social judgements.

Each of 1,000 faces was described in terms of 65 different features such as ‘eye height’, ‘eyebrow width’ and so on.

By combining these measures the model could explain more than half of the variation in human raters’ social judgements of the same faces.

Reversing the process it was also possible to create new cartoon-like faces that produced predictable first impressions in a new set of judges.

These images also illustrate the features that are associated with particular social judgements.

The study, published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), shows how important faces and specific images of faces can be in creating a favourable or unfavourable first impression.

It provides a scientific insight into the processes that underlie these judgements and perhaps into the instinctive expertise of those (such as casting directors, portrait photographers, picture editors and animators) who create and manipulate these impressions professionally.

The researchers users pictures taken from social media sites and modelled them to 'cartoon' versions using key attributes

The researchers users pictures taken from social media sites and modelled them to ‘cartoon’ versions using key attributes

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.’

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