Always enjoy a happy life, It will lead to your success in life. A study has shown we can instinctively assess someone’s social status — just from the lines etched into their features. Psychologists at the University of Toronto have been studying the reality of first impressions.
People were shown photos of faces in an emotionally ‘neutral’ mode — neither smiling for frowning.
At first glance, people proved reliably able to tell if someone was richer or poorer than themselves.
“Over time, your face comes to permanently reflect and reveal your experiences,” says Associate Professor Nicholas Rule. “Even when we think we’re not expressing something, relics of those emotions are still there.”
But the study also found such ‘gut instinct’ social assessments were only possible when people held a neutral face.
When smiling, or expressing any emotion, the facial cues become lost.
So what’s going on?
ETCHED IN YOUR FEATURES
“People are not really aware of what cues they are using when they make these judgments,” says study contributor PhD candidate Thora Bjornsdottir. “If you ask them why, they don’t know. They are not aware of how they are doing this.”
But signs are there for the reading.
And they’re moulded by the 43 muscles which form the features of our face.
The study concluded that people develop lifelong habits of expression, based on their experiences.
If you’re happy a lot, it leaves its mark.
If you frown a lot, you develop permanent furrows.
And we’re also programmed to recognise these.
QUESTION: Can you tell which above group is richer or poorer?
“There are neurons in the brain that specialise in facial recognition. The face is the first thing you notice when you look at somebody,” says Rule.
“We see faces in clouds, we see faces in toast. We are sort of hardwired to look for face-like stimuli. And this is something people pick up very quickly. And they are consistent, which is what makes it statistically significant.”
These revealing marks are already beginning to be etched into your features by your late teens, the study says.
“What we’re seeing is students who are just 18-22 years old have already accumulated enough life experience that it has visibly changed and shaped their face to the point you can tell what their socio-economic standing or social class is,” says Rule.
People generally equate general levels of happiness with wealth.
And richer faces are more likely to win over an interview panel than poorer ones, the study says.
“People talk about the cycle of poverty, and this is potentially one contributor to that,” says Rule.
But simply putting on a happy face can mask these fine telltale lines.
“It indicates that something as subtle as the signals in your face about your social class can actually then perpetuate it,” says Bjornsdottir. “Those first impressions can become a sort of self-fulfilling prophesy. It’s going to influence your interactions, and the opportunities you have.”
ANSWER: Group A is ‘rich’, Group B is ‘poor’, Group C is ‘rich’, Group D is ‘poor’.