Context-specific effects of facial dominance and trustworthiness on hypothetical leadership decisions

Hannah S. Ferguson, Anya Owen, Amanda C. Hahn, Jaimie Torrance, Lisa M. DeBruine, Benedict C. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Social judgments of faces predict important social outcomes, including leadership decisions. Previous work suggests that facial cues associated with perceptions of dominance and trustworthiness have context-specific effects on leadership decisions. Facial cues linked to perceived dominance have been found to be preferred in leaders for hypothetical wartime contexts and facial cues linked to perceived trustworthiness have been found to be preferred in leaders for hypothetical peacetime contexts. Here we sought to replicate these effects using images of women's faces, as previous studies have primarily focused on perceptions of leadership abilities from male faces, with only a handful of these including female faces. Consistent with previous work, a linear mixed effects model demonstrated that more trustworthy-looking faces were preferred in leaders during times of peace and more dominantlooking faces were preferred in leaders during times of war. These results provide converging evidence for context-specific effects of facial cues on hypothetical leadership judgments.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0214261
Number of pages5
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume14
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2019

Keywords

  • social judgements
  • faces
  • leadership
  • facial cues
  • dominance

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