• Calibrating facial morphs for use as stimuli in biological studies of social perception

    • Sonja Windhager
      Department of Theoretical Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna
    • Fred L. Bookstein
      Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna
    • Hanna Mueller
      Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna
    • Elke Zunner
      Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna
    • Sylvia Kirchengast
      Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna
    • Katrin Schaefer
      Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna
  • Studies of human social perception become more persuasive when the behavior of raters can be separated from the variability of the stimuli they are rating. We prototype such a rigorous analysis for a set of five social ratings of faces varying by body fat percentage (BFP). 274 raters of both sexes in three age groups (adolescent, young adult, senior) rated five morphs of the same averaged facial image warped to the positions of 72 landmarks and semilandmarks predicted by linear regression on BFP at five different levels (the average, ±2 SD, ±5 SD). Each subject rated all five morphs for maturity, dominance, masculinity, attractiveness, and health. The patterns of dependence of ratings on the BFP calibration differ for the different ratings, but not substantially across the six groups of raters. This has implications for theories of social perception, specifically, the relevance of individual rater scale anchoring. The method is also highly relevant for other studies on how biological facial variation affects ratings.

  • PDF

  • http://phaidra.univie.ac.at/o:931131

  • Article

  • Published Version

  • Scientific Reports

  • 2018

  • 8

  • Springer Nature

  • English

  • Open access

  • CC BY Attribution 4.0 International
    © The Author(s) 2018

  • IP 547012 – University of Vienna

  • P29397 – Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

  • 2045-2322

  • Biological anthropology; Human behaviour; Statistical methods