How foreigners judge personality based on body shape

Do you think you can tell if a person is quarrelsome and irritable or warm and reliable based on their body shape? New research is shedding light on “the complex and value-based judgments people make of strangers based solely on their bodies.”

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Research reveals the instant judgments we make about the personality of strangers based exclusively on body shape.

Despite the wise adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” we tend to make instant assumptions about strangers’ personalities based only on superficial traits, such as their age, gender, or face shape. .

Pass results indicated that people often form a first impression of reliability, dominance and emotional stability depending on the shape of the face. What’s more, facial features may even hold the key to predicting physiological health, according to recent research.

Until now, little research in psychology has linked these judgments to body shape.

A new study published in the journal Psychological Sciences, filled this gap by studying the personality traits that people tend to associate with specific body shapes.

Psychologist Ying Hu, of the University of Texas at Dallas, is the study’s first author. She explains the motivation of her team by saying: “We wanted to know if we could relate the descriptive words of the personality to the shape of the body in a predictable way”.

Do people look at a person’s body and quickly judge whether the person is lazy, enthusiastic, or irritable? ”

Ying Hu

To find out, Hu and his team designed 140 realistic 3D body models, half of which were men and half were women. To create these models, the researchers used laser scans of human bodies.

Next, the scientists asked 76 participants to observe the body models, each from two angles.

The researchers presented 30 personality traits and the participants identified the trait terms that applied to each model.

All 30 traits were from the so-called Big Five personality domains, which include extraversion, agreeableness, awareness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. The Big Five is a traditional method of assessing personality.

Overall, the study found that participants associated heavier body models with negative personality traits, such as laziness and recklessness.

In contrast, they tended to associate lighter bodies with more positive traits, such as self-confidence and enthusiasm.

Additionally, participants linked more ‘active’ traits, such as extraversion, irritability, and argumentation, to stereotypical body shapes identified with femininity or masculinity, such as a ‘pear’ or shapes with broad shoulders.

Meanwhile, participants associated the rectangular shapes of the male and female body with reliability, shyness, dependability, and warmth, all of which are more passive personality traits.

The researchers report that by combining specific characteristics, they could accurately predict how a person would judge the model’s personality type.

However, they caution that their study did not take into account the influence of attractiveness or gender on these judgments.

Further, they say, while the tendency to judge someone’s personality based on their body shape may be universal, the specificity of the findings could be determined by culture.

“Our research shows that people infer a wide range of personality traits simply by examining the physical characteristics of a particular body,” says Hu.

Stereotypes based on body shape can contribute to how we judge and interact with new acquaintances and strangers. Understanding these biases is important in determining how we form first impressions. ”

Ying Hu

Alice O’Toole, co-author of the study and professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, notes: “To our knowledge, this is the first study to consider the role of more nuanced aspects of form. of the body – beyond size and weight. – in personality judgments about people.

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