I pretty certain I have read somewhere about certain personality traits that correlate with certain facial features, but I can't remember just what or where I read. I think the personality traits may have been measured with Big 5 or something close.

I'm not looking for cranial or racial correlations, but facial feature correlations within cultures/ethnicities. I.e specific types of wrinkles. I'm also not looking for perceptions from other people, but measured personalities.

This might be a broad topic, but could someone give me some clues? It would be nice if I could see some research reports with measured correlations.


Reading people's faces to determine their character is called physiognomy.

Some might downplay the idea that it is real but

scientists are nowadays starting to accept that there may be a correlation between the shape of the face and characteristics. In fact, a recent study showed that men with a wide face tend to feel more powerful. The scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee also noticed that men with this characteristic had a tendency to lie more in business in order to make more money. Find out more: The Royal Society Publishing (DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2011.1193).

Paunonen, S. V., Ewan, K., Earthy, J., Lefave, S. and Goldberg, H. (1999), Facial Features as Personality Cues. Journal of Personality, 67(3): pp 555–583. doi:10.1111/1467-6494.00065

Talked about 2 studies which

examined the effects of the appearance of specific facial features on attributions of personality. In Study 1, photographs of men and women were computer-manipulated to have larger than average or smaller than average eye size, and wider than average or narrower than average eye spacing. In Study 2, eye size and mouth fullness were similarly altered. Although it was found that neither eye spacing nor mouth fullness had any effect on perceptions of the targets' personality or physical characteristics, eye size had strong effects in both studies. Analyses of covariance revealed that the personality trait ratings that varied with eye size were mediated primarily by perceived differences in the targets’ masculinity-femininity and babyfacedness, and to a lesser extent by attractiveness.

There is also

Kramer, R. S. S. and Ward, R. (2010) Internal facial features are signals of personality and health. The Quarterly Journal Of Experimental Psychology, 63(11) DOI: 10.1080/17470211003770912

We investigated forms of socially relevant information signalled from static images of the face. We created composite images from women scoring high and low values on personality and health dimensions and measured the accuracy of raters in discriminating high from low trait values. We also looked specifically at the information content within the internal facial features, by presenting the composite images with an occluding mask. Four of the Big Five traits were accurately discriminated on the basis of the internal facial features alone (conscientiousness was the exception), as was physical health. The addition of external features in the full-face images led to improved detection for extraversion and physical health and poorer performance on intellect/imagination (or openness). Visual appearance based on internal facial features alone can therefore accurately predict behavioural biases in the form of personality, as well as levels of physical health.


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