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Individual differences in social perception of faces : the role of competition-related factors

Much of the previous research on systematic variation in social judgements has focused on attractiveness judgements and factors that are related to inter-sexual competition (reviewed in Chapter 1). By contrast, there has been relatively little work on the extent to which factors that may be more closely related to intra-sexual competition, such as the outcomes of aggressive conflict with own-sex individuals and competition for resources, may have shaped perceptions of potential rivals. Correlational studies showed that indices of men’s (Chapter 2) and women’s (Chapter 4) own dominance were negatively correlated with the extent to which they perceived masculine own-sex individuals to be more dominant than feminine own-sex individuals. These findings suggest that those individuals who are likely to incur more substantial costs if they underestimate the dominance of potential rivals may find cues of others’ dominance (i.e., masculine characteristics) to be particularly salient. Further evidence for this proposal came from priming experiments in which men who were primed with scenarios in which they lost confrontations were more likely to ascribe high dominance, but not trustworthiness, to masculine men’s faces than were men who were primed with scenarios in which they won confrontations (Chapter 3). Further priming experiments suggested that priming women with cues to the sex ratio of the local population (Chapter 5) or priming women’s concerns about resources versus pathogens (Chapter 6) altered the salience of facial cues of others’ attractiveness and dominance. While previous research on systematic variation in social perception has tended to focus on attractiveness judgements and factors related to inter-sexual competition, the findings reported in this thesis highlight the potential importance of dominance perceptions and factors related to intra-sexual competition. Directions for future research, such as establishing whether dominance perceptions predict real world social outcomes, are then discussed (Chapter 7).
Date January 2012
CreatorsWatkins, Christopher David
PublisherUniversity of Aberdeen
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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