In a new study, researchers found a simple trick that could make people look more dominant.
The simple trick is tilting one’s head downward.
This can lead to the artificial appearance of lowered and V-shaped eyebrows, which in turn cause perceptions of aggression, intimidation, and dominance.
The research was done by a team from the University of British Columbia.
Previous research has shown how facial muscle movements, in the form of facial expressions, links to social impressions.
But so far few studies have examined how head movements might play a role.
In the study, the team tested 101 participants. They generated avatars with neutral facial expressions and one of three head positions: tilted upward 10 degrees, neutral (0 degrees), or tilted downward 10 degrees.
The participants judged the dominance of each avatar image, rating their agreement with statements such as “This person would enjoy having control over others” and “This person would be willing to use aggressive tactics to get their way.”
The team found that participants rated the avatars with downward head tilt as more dominant than those with neutral or upward-titled heads.
They confirmed the finding in a second online study, in which 570 participants rated images of actual people.
In addition, the team found that the portion of the face around the eyes and eyebrows is both necessary and sufficient to produce the dominance effect.
These findings suggest that subtle shifts of the head can have profound effects on social perception, partly because they can change the appearance of the face.
The team says that people often display certain movements or expressions during their everyday interactions.
People may also want to consider how they hold their head during these interactions because head movements can dramatically change the meaning of facial expressions.
The authors of the study are Zachary Witkower and Jessica Tracy.
The study is published in Psychological Science.
Copyright © 2019 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.