How can you tell if someone is prejudiced? By looking at the shape of his face, of course…?

Facial width to height ratio indicates high level of endorsement of prejudicial beliefs.

Facial width to height ratio indicates high level of endorsement of prejudicial beliefs.

Narrow face, clearly not a bigot

Facial Structure Is Indicative of Explicit Support for Prejudicial Beliefs

Eric Hehman, Jordan B. Leitner, Matthew P. Deegan, and Samuel L. Gaertner       

Can you tell whether someone has prejudicial beliefs based on their facial structure? In the last of three experiments, White and Black participants were shown pictures of White male faces and were asked to rate how prejudiced they thought each target was. Not only were pictures of targets with greater facial width-to-height ratios (fWHR) judged to be more prejudiced, but participants’ ratings of the targets correlated with the targets’ reported endorsement of prejudicial beliefs. Greater fWHR has been found to be related to higher levels of dominance and testosterone in men. It could be that men with a greater fWHR are less inhibited and are therefore more willing to report their racial prejudices.

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One thought on “How can you tell if someone is prejudiced? By looking at the shape of his face, of course…?

  1. True, it’s probably a matter of inhibition. I noticed a similar phenomenon when I analyzed an AP poll a while back which showed Republicans to have more implicit racism against Black people than Democrats. But when you adjust the poll with the assumption that probably no more than 5 percent of Blacks are prejudiced against themselves the level of implicit racism turns out to be roughly the same for both parties.

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