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First Impressions of Personality Traits From Body Shapes




People infer the personalities of others from their facial appearance. Whether they do so from body shapes is less studied. We explored personality inferences made from body shapes. Participants rated personality traits for male and female bodies generated with a three-dimensional body model. Multivariate spaces created from these ratings indicated that people evaluate bodies on valence and agency in ways that directly contrast positive and negative traits from the Big Five domains. Body-trait stereotypes based on the trait ratings revealed a myriad of diverse body shapes that typify individual traits. Personality-trait profiles were predicted reliably from a subset of the body-shape features used to specify the three-dimensional bodies. Body features related to extraversion and conscientiousness were predicted with the highest consensus, followed by openness traits. This study provides the first comprehensive look at the range, diversity, and reliability of personality inferences that people make from body shapes.

Author(s): Ying Hu and Connor J. Parde and Matthew Q. Hill and Naureen Mahmood and Alice J. O’Toole
Journal: Psychological Science
Volume: 29
Number (issue): 12
Pages: 1969-–1983
Year: 2018
Month: October

Department(s): Perceiving Systems
Bibtex Type: Article (article)
Paper Type: Journal

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797618799300

Links: publisher site


  title = {First Impressions of Personality Traits From Body Shapes},
  author = {Hu, Ying and Parde, Connor J. and Hill, Matthew Q. and Mahmood, Naureen and O’Toole, Alice J.},
  journal = {Psychological Science},
  volume = {29},
  number = {12},
  pages = {1969-–1983},
  month = oct,
  year = {2018},
  month_numeric = {10}