Facial stereotypes are cognitive representations of the facial characteristics of members of social groups. In this study, we examined the extent to which facial stereotypes for occupational groups were based on physiognomic cues to stereotypical social characteristics. In Experiment 1, participants rated the occupational stereotypicality of naturalistic face images. These ratings were then regressed onto independent ratings of the faces on 16 separate traits. These traits, particularly those relevant to the occupational stereotype, explained the majority of variance in occupational stereotypicality ratings. In Experiments 2 and 3, we used trait ratings to reconstruct stereotypical occupation faces from a separate set of images, using face averaging techniques. These reconstructed facial stereotypes were validated by separate groups of participants as conforming to the occupational stereotype. These results indicate that facial cues and group stereotypes are integrated through shared semantic content in the cognitive representations of groups.
- face perception
- face averaging