Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Our face is the mirror of our personality

An April 2021 study, published in the journal Nature Genetics is entitled: “Shared heritability of human face and brain shape” (eg, Big Think, Nature). Moreover, ancient wisdom states that the eyes are the windows to a person’s soul (eg, Bible Matthew 6:22-24, phrases). Clearly, there’s a link between our facial structures and our character, including our intelligence. 

According to the problem-solving principle called Occam’s razor, the most simple explanation is often the best explanation (my 2018 blog). On a macro level complexity is ever-increasing (eg, due to technology), while on a micro level simplicity is the default solution (eg, routines or standardisation). See my various blogs on (1) complexity versus simplicity and (ii) micro vs macro

So, why is there a link between our facial structures and our character, including our intelligence? The most simple explanation is about trust and our “natural disposition to trust and to judge trustworthiness” in each other, in order for us to decide whether to cooperate or to compete (my blogs).

Remarkably, we apply the same kind of human judgement onto animals: arrogant cats, smart dogs, sad looking horses, and stupid looking cows. 

We use this same kind of judgement when we swipe faces on dating sites: one picture is worth a thousand words (eg, phrasesWiki). Why read a profile text that feels like an advertisement, when a picture tells us all that we want to know of that person?

In general, our judgement of facial structures tends to overlook people that lack (any) empathy: narcissists, psychopaths and/or sociopaths (eg, Britannica, Medium, Psychology Today). This may well explain our fascination with TV series like Dexter (#8.6 in IMDb), Lie to Me (#8.0 in IMDb), and The Mentalist (#8.1 in IMDb). Note LO: Dexter will get a season 9 in 2021 (TV line).

The TV series Lie to Me is based on “applied psychology: interpreting microexpressions, through the Facial Action Coding System, and body language” and its pioneer Paul Ekman (b.1934).

Some people were too early with their scientific research. In the 1970s, Dutch criminologist Wouter Buikhuisen (b.1933) was villainized for using nature (eg, brains) rather than nurture as a reason for criminal behaviour. Two decades later his type of research become common.

“The eyes are the mirror of the soul and reflect everything that seems to be hidden; and like a mirror, they also reflect the person looking into them.” A quote from the 2012 novel Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho (b. 1947), a Brazilian writer.

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (1957) by Roberta Flack (1972 cover)

The first time, ever I saw your face 
I thought the sun rose in your eyes

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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