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People with attractive faces seem to be warm, but…

People with attractive faces seem to be warm

People with attractive faces seem to be warm when compared to unattractive people, according to a study. People tend to attribute more good qualities to attractive people. This is because they regard them in a more favorable way. A recent study published in the journal Social Neuroscience shows that positive traits like friendliness and trustworthiness are more often linked to warmth than competence.


Studies conducted in the field of psychology have demonstrated, time and time again, that people have a tendency to infer favorable psychological traits from physically appealing faces. These characteristics are most often grouped into one of two categories: warmth or competence.

A person’s social character may be inferred by how they interact with others. This also includes the degree to which they exude warmth. The capacity of an individual to work toward achieving their own objectives is reflected in their level of competence.

However, the authors of the recent study were curious as to which of the two characteristics was seen as more important. This is when it comes to the beauty stereotype. Is it possible that people are more likely to think someone is friendly or smart if they have a pretty face?

A study finds that people with attractive faces seem to be warm.

Juan Yang, who is also the director of the Personality and Social Cognitive Neuroscience
Juan Yang, the director of the Personality and Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at Southwest University in Chongqing

The lead author of the study, Juan Yang, stated that “we all know that facial beauty is highly essential, especially for strangers who meet for the first time.”

“After they had met one another, they would think about whether or not they were going to stay in touch with one another. They also contemplated becoming friends with this individual. It’s common for people to wish to be friends with those that have a really gorgeous face. Why? What do they anticipate from their friendship with each other? To be friends and learn from each other while also caring about each other, or both? ”

It was claimed by Yang and her colleagues that inferences about a person’s warmth take precedence over inferences about their ability. This is because it is more vital for a stranger’s warmth to be preserved than their competence.

When we meet with a stranger, it is more crucial to determine whether or not the person’s intentions toward us are positive. These take precedence over determining whether or not the person is capable of acting on these intentions. The researchers wanted to test this idea, so they came up with an experiment that used both brain and behavior data.

The respondents of the study

In all, 42 young ladies with an average age of 20 were sought for participation in the study. The participants’ brain activity was monitored using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). This is as they saw a succession of beautiful and unattractive faces.

The participants were given a series of trials in which the faces were matched with either warmth or competence attributes. They were asked to score how well each trait characterized the individual depicted in the photo. At the end of each experiment, the people who took part were asked to rate how attractive each face was.


The overall findings showed that assessments of beauty were positively associated with both judgments of warmth. It was also associated with ratings of competence.

The participants had a tendency to judge beautiful faces as warmer and more competent than ugly faces. As the researchers had thought, there was a much stronger link between ratings of beauty and ratings of warmth. This is more compared to ratings of competence and ratings of beauty.

“People with high facial attractiveness anticipate people with highly warm and competent features. Nevertheless, the warmth aspect is valued more,” said Yang. “People prefer to form friendships with people who have a high-faced beauty. This is because they believe these people are more compassionate. ”

The fMRI Data

The fMRI data also showed that parts of the brain are involved in judging traits. Parts like the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) and the temporoparietal junction (TPJ), were more strongly activated. This strong activation occurred when the participants judged the face warmth more than when they judged the face competence.

The activation of these brain areas during the evaluation of warmth was also found to have a stronger correlation with perceptions of attractiveness. The dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) were also more highly engaged. This is during assessments of warmth. Both of these regions are thought to be involved in determining a person’s attractiveness.

According to the authors, the data shows that warmth evaluations are more essential during social encounters. They explain that “this may be the product of survival and adaptation in the process of evolution.”

This means that when an individual meets a stranger, he/she will first judge the stranger’s intention. This is to see whether the stranger is friendly or not(warmth judgment). After that, then judge the stranger’s ability to act on his intention. That is, whether the stranger can cause harm or not (competence judgment).


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The limitation of the study

The sample consisted of exclusively females, which is a limitation of the study. It’s possible that this was a factor in the results. This is because previous research has shown that women are more attuned to feelings of warmth than males are. According to the findings of the study, gender disparities are something that has to be examined in further studies.

“Since the participants in our study as well as the experimental materials are female, the future tests will continue to include male participants and male face materials,” said Yang. It is important to pay attention to this issue if you want to make a good generalization based on the results of the current experiment.

According to Yang, “the primary mission of the Personality and Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory is to research how the brain shapes personality and interacts with social behavior.”

“We would like to pose an issue from the point of view of social cognitive psychology, and we would like to address it by employing technologies from the fields of neuroscience, physiology, or endocrinology. At the moment, we are interested in studying the brain representation of self-esteem as well as individual variations in psychosocial stress.”

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