Bias Toward What’s Expected (03-17-22)

Maister and colleagues learned how subjective our assessments of our own faces and bodies are; their findings can likely be applied in other situations in which assessments are made.  The researchers report that they “used a computational reverse-correlation technique to explore individuals’ mental ‘self-portraits’ of their faces and body shapes in an unbiased, data-driven way. . . . Self-portraits were similar to individuals’ real faces but, importantly, also contained clues to each person’s self-reported personality traits, which were reliably detected by external observers. . . . . Unlike face portraits, body portraits had negligible relationships with individuals’ actual body shape, but as with faces, they were influenced by people’s beliefs and emotions. We show how psychological beliefs and attitudes about oneself bias the perceptual representation of one’s appearance.”

Lara Maister, Sophie De Beukelaer, Matthew Longo, and Manos Tsakiris.  2021. “The Self in the Mind’s Eye:  Revealing How We Truly See Ourselves Through Reverse Correlation.”  Psychological Science, vol. 32, no. 12, pp. 1965-1978, https://doi.org/10.1177/09567976211018618