Study links face features to a person's wealth
07 July 2017 12:51 GMT

A new study explores whether human face recognition can predict if a person is rich or poor.

Thora Bjornsdottir has written a study with Professor Nicholas Rule of Toronto University, on the topic for the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology this week.

For the study, a group of participants were told to use nothing but gut instinct to decide which ones were “rich or poor” just by looking at their faces.

Using an average family income of £57,000 as a benchmark, the researchers classed student volunteers with family incomes under £46,000 as poor. Those who came from families earning above £77,000 were classed as rich.

The researchers say they were able to determine which student belonged to the rich or poor group at a level of accuracy that researchers say exceeds random chance.

“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,” said Rule.

“It indicates that something as subtle as the signals in your face about your social class can actually then perpetuate it,” said Thora Bjornsdottir, who along with Professor Nicholas Rule of Toronto University, published the findings in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology this week.