Presentation Title

Effects of Facial Expression and Socioeconomic Status on Approachability

Location

House of Learning Library, 3rd floor

Start Date

18-3-2016 12:00 PM

End Date

18-3-2016 6:00 PM

Abstract

Certain psychological mechanisms have evolved to promote our ability to identify and avoid potentially untrustworthy individuals as an adaptive survival technique. Previous research suggests that both facial characteristics and how well integrated into society a person is can influence an individual’s perceived approachability. The aim of the present study is to determine whether the facial expression and socioeconomic status of a stranger will influence participants’ willingness to approach that stranger. The researchers hypothesize that positive expressions and high socioeconomic status will be related to the highest levels of approachability. To test this hypothesis, participants will be randomly assigned to one of four conditions and then shown a photo of an individual and a written description of that individual. Facial expression (happy vs. neutral) and socioeconomic status (upper vs. middle class) will be varied in each condition according to a 2X2 between subjects design. Perceived approachability of the individual in the photo will be measured using a self-report questionnaire to determine the influence of facial expression and socioeconomic status. Understanding how certain variables influence approachability will provide insight into the role that first impressions play in human social interactions. Findings from this research may also facilitate the development of interventions that encourage both groups and individuals to be less prejudiced towards others.

Department

Psychology

Faculty Advisor

Jenni Karl

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Mar 18th, 12:00 PM Mar 18th, 6:00 PM

Effects of Facial Expression and Socioeconomic Status on Approachability

House of Learning Library, 3rd floor

Certain psychological mechanisms have evolved to promote our ability to identify and avoid potentially untrustworthy individuals as an adaptive survival technique. Previous research suggests that both facial characteristics and how well integrated into society a person is can influence an individual’s perceived approachability. The aim of the present study is to determine whether the facial expression and socioeconomic status of a stranger will influence participants’ willingness to approach that stranger. The researchers hypothesize that positive expressions and high socioeconomic status will be related to the highest levels of approachability. To test this hypothesis, participants will be randomly assigned to one of four conditions and then shown a photo of an individual and a written description of that individual. Facial expression (happy vs. neutral) and socioeconomic status (upper vs. middle class) will be varied in each condition according to a 2X2 between subjects design. Perceived approachability of the individual in the photo will be measured using a self-report questionnaire to determine the influence of facial expression and socioeconomic status. Understanding how certain variables influence approachability will provide insight into the role that first impressions play in human social interactions. Findings from this research may also facilitate the development of interventions that encourage both groups and individuals to be less prejudiced towards others.