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Facial Gestures Which Influence the Perception of Status

Caroline F. Keating, Allan Mazur and Marshall H. Segall
Sociometry
Vol. 40, No. 4 (Dec., 1977), pp. 374-378
DOI: 10.2307/3033487
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3033487
Page Count: 5
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Facial Gestures Which Influence the Perception of Status
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Abstract

Differing positions of the eyebrows play a role in nonhuman primate displays of status (dominance and submission). Mazur and Stevens (1975) suggest that similar eyebrow gestures convey information about social status among humans, and this hypothesis was tested in the present experiment. We predicted that human models would be made to look more dominant by photographing them with lowered as compared to raised brows. College student observers were shown such portrait photographs of male and female models from various racial backgrounds and asked to judge dominance. Observers perceived each of twelve models as dominant significantly more often when models posed with lowered eyebrows than when they posed with raised eyebrows. Brows were more expressive of dominance than mouth gestures, which served as "controls." Results of status judgments made on cartoon face stimuli were consistent with those based on the photographs.

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