Cues to mental health from men’s facial appearance

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Journal of Research in Personality, ISSN: 0092-6566, Vol: 75, Page: 26-36

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Robert Ward; Naomi Jane Scott
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article description
Previous work shows that mental health can be evident from neutral facial appearance. We assessed the accuracy of mental health perceptions from facial appearance, and how perceived mental health related to other appearance cues, specifically attractiveness, perceived physical health, and masculinity. We constructed composite images from men scoring high and low on autistic quotient, depressive symptoms, and schizotypy inventories, and asked observers to rate these images for mental health. We found perceived mental health reflected actual mental health in all cases. Furthermore, the accuracy of mental health inference was not fully explained by other appearance cues. We consider implications of accurate mental health detection from appearance, and the possibility that appearance could be a risk factor for mental health issues.