在过去 从亚里士多德时期到后来的16 17世纪
So in the early days, including from the time of Aristotle and later in the 16th and 17th
century most of physiognomy consisted of this whimsical comparisons between the physiognomy
of humans and animals.
So for example, you would have a drawing of a human who presumably looks like a cow, and
from there you will make all kinds of inferences that perhaps the character of the person matches
the character of the cow—whatever that might be.
事实上 如果你去看欧洲史 大多数19世纪小说
In fact if you look at the history of European history, most of the 19th century’s novels,
a standard feature of these novels is that you have physiognomic descriptions of the characters.
所以面相学非常受欢迎且有影响性 不仅限于不知名作家 还包括知名作家
So it was very, very popular and influenced not only marginal writers but big names like
Balzac, Stendhal, and many others.
而 非常有趣的是 在20世纪早期 人们不再谈论面相学
Now, interestingly enough, in the early 20th century people no longer talk about physiognomy
they talk about character analysis.
And in fact a lot of the references are no longer to Lavater’s whimsical ideas, but they’re
to evolutionary ideas.
And the so-called character analysis, they were quite influential and they were involved
且在商业和人才招聘中广泛使用 这时 新的心理科学出现了
heavily in business and recruitment of employees, but this is exactly the time when the new
science of psychology arises and then psychologists are kind of skeptical about the claims of
the character analysts, or really the new physiognomists.
The fact that we agree on this impression was discovered over 100 years ago in psychology,
but psychologists at the time were really focused on the accuracy of the impressions
and paid very little attention to the extremely interesting psychological fact that we actually
agree on these impressions.
Very often in psychology, and generally in the social sciences lately, if you observe
that there’s a pervasive bias that is: it’s something that feels fairly automatic and
we can all do it.
There is kind of almost immediate assumption that this might be actually wired, that it’s
something that would be are born to be able to do.
当然 你可以很快举出反例 比如开车 开车也会变成自动反应
Of course you can easily think of counterexamples like driving, which essentially becomes automatic
and there’s nothing evolutionary about driving—or reading.
But nevertheless things that seem to have been present always in our environment like
faces, that seems like natural assumptions.
It’s interesting actually, we’ve done some studies—there are many, many different inputs to impressions.
情绪的表现 性别的特征 年龄的特点 面容的成熟度
One is emotional expressions, there’s stereotypes about gender, there’s cues about age and facial
maturity, all of this go into our impressions.
Another one that is very interesting is typicality.
So as it turns out we tend to like faces that are typical, that means faces that are closer
to what we perceive as typical in our social environment.
Now there’s an interesting wrinkle because typicality is also culturally specific, especially
如果文化不同 种族不同 并且审美相去甚远
if the different cultures are linked to different ethnicities and there’s distinctive physiognomies,
and that makes it worse.
We’ve done a study where we created morphs of a typical Japanese face and a typical Israeli
face, and then we can interpolate the morph.
So we can imagine like a typical Japanese face gradually turning into a typical Israeli
Now, if you ask Israeli and Japanese participants to evaluate the faces, what happens is as
the face become more Israeli-looking the Israelis believe the face is becoming more trustworthy,
and the other way around for the Japanese.
So in a sense to a large extent what we perceive as typical is shaped by our natural environment.
And it’s something that we very rapidly extract, we are incredibly good learners about faces.
And most likely people who live in New York City, with a hugely diverse face, will have
a different notion of typicality if you live in a small rural town where there’s not so
And in this case this can lead to different kind of suboptimal outcomes because naturally
we wouldn’t trust people that do not look like us, not having any other information.
The reason why we will never be able to get rid of first impressions is because they serve
important psychological functions.
即 在缺少其他信息的情况下 我们尽己可能地
That is in the absence of any other information we’re trying the best we could to figure out
what the other people are thinking.
That doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t change our minds, on the contrary when you have good
diagnostic evidence about the person or when you know about past behavior, that would change
inferences based on appearance.
但多数时候 如果你没有其他的信息 人们还是会依赖第一印象
But most of the time if you don’t have any other information people will act on this,
and that may not to be in their best interest.
Starting back to Cesare Lombroso who wrote books like The Criminal Man and The Criminal
Woman, and he claimed that he can identify these “inferior types” based on their
facial features, to Francis Galton who invented composite photography, and in fact all of
today’s morphing methods are based on this method of composite photography.
And the first application of the method was to identify the criminal type, so it has a
very long history.
I think a very reasonable argument could be that we are kind of hardwired to figure out
the intentions of other people, of the people around us, because what is the most important
thing in our social life?
It’s other people!
And in interactions with strangers you’re always trying to figure out what are their
Are they good?
Are they bad?
What are they going to do?
Can they hurt me, whether that’s physical or in a non-physical way?
So these are things that have always been a concern for us.
But let’s think in terms of evolutionary history.
Well, for most of our evolutionary history we’ve basically lived in extended families,
typically between five to eight individuals.
而这都在五万年前变了 甚至更短 大概在两万年前
All of these changes in the last 50,000—in fact even less—maybe in the last 20,000
years, when you have large societies—that is, if you imagine the human evolution compressed
within 24 hours, we have been living with strangers surrounded by strangers in the last
So it’s not obvious at all that we are kind of endowed with reading the characters of
other from faces.
I think there’s good comparative evidence that in fact we are very good at picking up
on social cues in the immediate situations.
比如 在对比研究中 如果你对比所有的灵长类动物
So if you look, for example, at comparative studies, you look across all primates, it
turns out that we are the only primate which has whites of the eyes.
即 深色的虹膜外是白色的巩膜 在外面是
That is our iris is dark and then you have the white sclera, and then you have darker
There are no other primates with this kind of coloration.
So why is that interesting or important?
Well, the fact that you have the white of the sclera makes it super easy to detect eye
And eye gaze is very important for sharing social attention, we can communicate from
远距离交流 同样的 情感交流也很重要
a long distance, similar emotional expressions are very important, the fact that we are kind
of the “naked ape” and the fact that our faces are not completely covered by hair makes
it very easy to detect changes in skin colorations, which is often an indication of different
kinds of emotional or mental states.
So we are very sensitive to changes, momentary changes in what we are observing, because
these momentary changes are indicative of what is important in this situation, what
is happening right now.
But it’s hard to make the argument that somehow we are endowed to also to read into faces the
character of others.
I think we have the natural propensity trying to figure out what these other people are
thinking or feeling right now.
And I think the problem with physiognomy in the modern version is this assumption that
because you can make these rapid inferences that’s also informative about these people
across time and situations.
在过去 从亚里士多德时期到后来的16 17世纪