A data-driven study of Chinese participants' social judgments of Chinese faces

Hongyi Wang, Chengyang Han, Amanda C. Hahn, Vanessa Fasolt, Danielle K. Morrison, Iris J. Holzleitner, Lisa M. DeBruine, Benedict C. Jones

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Social judgments of faces made by Western participants are thought to be underpinned by two dimensions: valence and dominance. Because some research suggests that Western and Eastern participants process faces differently, the two-dimensional model of face evaluation may not necessarily apply to judgments of faces by Eastern participants. Here we used a data-driven approach to investigate the components underlying social judgments of Chinese faces by Chinese participants. Analyses showed that social judgments of Chinese faces by Chinese participants are partly underpinned by a general approachability dimension similar to the valence dimension previously found to underpin Western participants’ evaluations of White faces. However, we found that a general capability dimension, rather than a dominance dimension, contributed to Chinese participants’ evaluations of Chinese faces. Thus, our findings present evidence for both cultural similarities and cultural differences in social evaluations of faces. Importantly, the dimension that explained most of the variance in Chinese participants’ social judgments of faces was strikingly similar to the valence dimension previously reported for Western participants.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0210315
Number of pages8
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2019


  • social judgements
  • face evaluation
  • cultural differences
  • cultural similarities

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