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Human Face Tilt Is a Dynamic Social Signal That Affects Perceptions of Dimorphism, Attractiveness, and Dominance.
Evolutionary Psychology  (IF1.506),  Pub Date : 2020-01-01, DOI: 10.1177/1474704920910403
Peter Marshall,Amy Bartolacci,Darren Burke

Previous research has shown that manipulating the pitch of a face (tilting the face upward or downward) affects the perceived femininity, masculinity, attractiveness, and dominance of the given face. However, previous research has not considered the influence of direct eye gaze on dominance perceptions or the ambiguity surrounding the proposed social signals sent from a static face. The current research used 94 participants across two studies (women = 63%, age: M = 31). Stimuli varied in head pitch angle, eye gaze, and motion/static appearance. Participants rated the stimuli for levels of masculinity, femininity, attractiveness, and dominance. Both studies confirmed that pitching the face upward at incrementally increasing angles resulted in a linear increase in ratings of masculinity, physical dominance, and social dominance and a linear decrease in ratings of femininity, physical attractiveness, and behavioral allure. Study 2 showed that these effects can be dependent on either the perceived structural change of the face or the actual movement of the face, and these are different for each rating category. The perceived dimorphism, attractiveness, and dominance of a face will change dependent on the angle of pitch it is presented but also whether it is moving or not, where it is moving in space, and what direction it is moving.