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PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e45301. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045301. Epub 2012 Sep 21.

Perspective distortion from interpersonal distance is an implicit visual cue for social judgments of faces.

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  • 1Computation and Neural Systems Program, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, United States of America.

Abstract

The basis on which people make social judgments from the image of a face remains an important open problem in fields ranging from psychology to neuroscience and economics. Multiple cues from facial appearance influence the judgments that viewers make. Here we investigate the contribution of a novel cue: the change in appearance due to the perspective distortion that results from viewing distance. We found that photographs of faces taken from within personal space elicit lower investments in an economic trust game, and lower ratings of social traits (such as trustworthiness, competence, and attractiveness), compared to photographs taken from a greater distance. The effect was replicated across multiple studies that controlled for facial image size, facial expression and lighting, and was not explained by face width-to-height ratio, explicit knowledge of the camera distance, or whether the faces are perceived as typical. These results demonstrate a novel facial cue influencing a range of social judgments as a function of interpersonal distance, an effect that may be processed implicitly.

PMID:
23028918
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3448657
Free PMC Article

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