The glasses stereotype revisited – Effects of glasses on perception, recognition and impressions of faces

Authors/others:Leder, Helmut; Forster, Michael; Gerger, Gernot
Abstract:In face perception, besides physiognomic changes, accessories like eyeglasses can influence facial appearance. According toa stereotype, people who wear glasses are more intelligent, but less attractive. In a series of four experiments, we showed how full-rimand rimless glasses, differing with respect to the amount of face they cover, affect face perception, recognition, distinctiveness, and theattribution of stereotypes. Eyeglasses generally directed observers’ gaze to the eye regions; rimless glasses made faces appear lessdistinctive and resulted in reduced distinctiveness in matching and in recognition tasks. Moreover, the stereotype was confirmed butdepended on the kind of glasses – rimless glasses yielded an increase in perceived trustworthiness, but not a decrease in attractiveness.Thus, glasses affect how we perceive the faces of the people wearing them and, in accordance with an old stereotype, they can lowerhow attractive, but increase how intelligent and trustworthy people wearing them appear. These effects depend on the kind of glassesworn.
Date of publication:2011
Journal title:Swiss Journal of Psychology
Peer reviewed:true
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Publication Type:Article