The Caltech Effect: Before You Vote or Go on a Dating Website, Think of This

The Caltech Effect: Before You Vote or Go on a Dating Website, Think of This


My name is Chujun Lin. I study human face perception. Imagine you come across a
profile photo of a stranger. Do you ever wonder: “What is he like? Is he shy? Is he trustworthy?” Do our impressions convey
our stereotypes and biases? This questions have fascinated
psychologists for a long time. Compared to the literature,
the approach at Caltech is more quantitative and mechanistic. For example, in one study we manipulated
the politicians’ photos. What we found was that they reported that
the same politician looks more corruptible when their face
was made fatter and less corruptible when their face was made slimmer. Here at Caltech, we are
paying particular efforts to make our studies
transparent and replicatable. Understanding the stereotypes will help
people to make more rational decisions. For example, when people decide
which candidate to vote for or when people are browsing
the photos on dating websites.

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