6 Physical Traits That May Reveal Something About Your Personality, According To Science
While it's obviously never a good idea to make sweeping generalizations about physical traits and what they reveal about someone's personality, science does show the occasional connection — and it's certainly interesting to consider.
Take noses, for example. Research has revealed a connection between large noses and high levels of ambition, while other studies have focused on face shape and what high cheekbones or a wide forehead may say about someone — or, at the very least, what we may perceive about that person.
And that perception is definitely something to keep in mind. "We form snap-judgments of people in our heads to unconsciously make decisions on how we'd like to proceed with said person," clinical psychologist Dr. Perpetua Neo tells Bustle. "This means that the link between physical and personality traits are a two-way street ... In this sense, we sometimes use certain facial and body muscles to signal something about our personalities — e.g. people who are higher on Agreeableness have 'lifted up' eyebrows and smaller forehead spans — and when we keep practicing that, that becomes us."
It really becomes a case of "which came first?" As Dr. Neo says, "Another theory goes that it's all about self-fulfilling prophecies where our expectations cause us to influence people to act in ways that confirm our expectations ... It's not necessarily true that our physical traits determine our personality traits. What may be somewhat true is that they instead signal our personality traits, albeit in a chicken-or-egg conundrum." Here, a few interesting physical traits and the way they can affect personality — or how people perceive our personalities — according to science.
1. People With Rectangular Faces Are Born Leaders
If someone has a "rectangular" face shape — meaning high cheekbones, a wide forehead, and a prominent jaw — they're often viewed as powerful leaders, according to a study published in Psychological Science.
And this can, in many ways, have real-life implications. As noted on Reader's Digest, "The researchers found that companies headed by people with this face shape were more financially successful than companies with long-faced CEOs." Pretty interesting, right?
2. A Strong Jaw Is Associated With A Strong Personality
The size and strength of someone's jawline is often immediately associated with the strength of their personality — as well as their physical strength. "I believe the connection comes from the fact the our jaw is the strongest joint in the body," psychologist Dr. Michele Barton, clinical director of Psychology Life Well, tells Bustle. So it may be a connection we subconsciously make.
A strong jawline can also be a sign of health — at least as far as our ancient brains are concerned. "A strong jawline indicates the ability to eat well, properly chew your food, and sustain health and life," Dr. Barton says. Evolutionarily speaking, this makes someone with a strong jawline seem, well, stronger.
3. Larger Eyes Are Associated With Agreeableness
One Chinese study, according to Psychology Today, examined the link between facial features and personality by looking at the "Big Five" personality model — which includes Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism — and 3-D images of faces.
According to the article's author, Vinita Mehta Ph.D., Ed.M., "Those who were higher on Agreeableness had eyebrows that appeared to be 'lifted up' and smaller forehead spans (i.e., the distance between the eyebrows and the hairline). By contrast, lower levels of Agreeableness were associated with the opposite, that is, a jaw and eyebrows that were sunken."
4. Larger Lips Are Associated With Extroversion
In the same Chinese study mentioned above, it was found that a larger nose and lips were associated with extraversion in women. As Dr. Mehta said, "Higher levels of Extraversion were related to more protruding nose and lips, a recessive chin and masseter muscles (the jaw muscles used in chewing). By contrast, the face of those with lower Extraversion levels showed the reverse pattern, in which the area around the nose appeared to press against the face. These findings suggest that perhaps psychological traits can — to some degree — be read on a person's face, though more studies would be needed to understand this phenomenon."
5. Larger Noses Indicate Ambition
Back in 2013, a study was published in the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery that reported a connection between larger noses and ambition.
But that's not the only thing nose size can potentially reveal. According to an article on Business Insider, a nose with a "fleshy tip" can indicate "cordiality and warmth of personality and deep empathy with others, while an upturned nose "suggests luck in social circumstances and a love of mixing with people."
6. It's All In The Iris
According to psychotherapist Natalie Engelbrecht, "Scientists at Orebro University in Sweden studied over 400 subjects to see if their personalities were linked to the irises in their eye. They found that our eye color is affected by the same genes that form our frontal lobes, thus there are distinctly shared behaviors in people with similar irises."
For example, "those with densely packed crypts are more warmhearted, tender, trusting and likely to sympathize with others," Engelbrecht said.
As with all things, though, it's important take this information with a grain of salt. Just because someone has an upturned nose or a strong jawline doesn't mean they're guaranteed to have these personality traits. It is interesting, however, to think more about these possible connections, and what our features might reveal.