A great deal of research has shown that dominant-looking faces are afforded power. In this research, we tested the reverse link. As such, we examined whether knowledge of a target's power would lead to a dominance bias in face perception. Five studies were conducted by applying face morphing techniques to both controlled facial stimuli and faces of powerholders in the real world. Results showed that faces of powerholders were misrecollected (Studies 1A and 1B) and misperceived (Studies 3A and 3B) as more dominant-looking than their powerless counterparts. In addition, their faces were misrecollected as more prototypically dominant in physical appearance than they actually were (Studies 1A, 1B, and 2). Furthermore, enhanced facial dominance affected social inferences, with evaluations such as competence and attractiveness being sensitive to the gender of the target person (Study 3B). Implications for research on power and face perception are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-33
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2018

    Research areas

  • Attractiveness, Dominance, Face perception, Gender, Memory, Power

ID: 4269895