Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Photograph


First impressions made to photographs of faces can depend as much on momentary characteristics of the photographed image (within-person variability) as on consistent properties of the face of the person depicted (between-person variability). Here, we examine two important sources of within-person variability: emotional expression and viewpoint. We find more within-person variability than between-person variability for social impressions of key traits of trustworthiness, dominance, and attractiveness, which index the main dimensions in theoretical models of facial impressions. The most important source of this variability is the emotional expression of the face, but the viewpoint of the photograph also affects impressions and modulates the effects of expression. For example, faces look most trustworthy with a happy expression when they are facing the perceiver, compared to when they are facing elsewhere, whereas the opposite is true for anger and disgust. Our findings highlight the integration of these different sources of variability in social impression formation.

Concepts: Face, Faces, Photography, Affect display, Photograph, John Coltrane, First Impressions, Impulse! Records


Static photographs are currently the most often employed stimuli in research on social perception. The method of photograph acquisition might affect the depicted subject’s facial appearance and thus also the impression of such stimuli. An important factor influencing the resulting photograph is focal length, as different focal lengths produce various levels of image distortion. Here we tested whether different focal lengths (50, 85, 105 mm) affect depicted shape and perception of female and male faces. We collected three portrait photographs of 45 (22 females, 23 males) participants under standardized conditions and camera setting varying only in the focal length. Subsequently, the three photographs from each individual were shown on screen in a randomized order using a 3-alternative forced-choice paradigm. The images were judged for attractiveness, dominance, and femininity/masculinity by 369 raters (193 females, 176 males). Facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) was measured from each photograph and overall facial shape was analysed employing geometric morphometric methods (GMM). Our results showed that photographs taken with 50 mm focal length were rated as significantly less feminine/masculine, attractive, and dominant compared to the images taken with longer focal lengths. Further, shorter focal lengths produced faces with smaller fWHR. Subsequent GMM revealed focal length significantly affected overall facial shape of the photographed subjects. Thus methodology of photograph acquisition, focal length in this case, can significantly affect results of studies using photographic stimuli perhaps due to different levels of perspective distortion that influence shapes and proportions of morphological traits.

Concepts: Male, Female, Optics, Length, Photography, Focal length, Photograph, Telephoto lens


This study provides insight into the lived experience of mirror gazing using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and Photo Elicitation. A total of 10 participants who identified themselves as suffering from body dysmorphic disorder took photographs that related to their body dysmorphic disorder experience. Photographs were discussed in interviews. It was found that mirror gazing in body dysmorphic disorder is an embodied phenomenon. Motivations for mirror gazing were confusing, complex and masochistic. Overall, participants described mirrors as being controlling, imprisoning and disempowering forces that had a crippling and paralysing effect on life. It is argued that health psychologists must ask clients about their embodied experiences when looking in the mirror.

Concepts: Optics, Experience, Mental disorder, Interpretative phenomenological analysis, Body dysmorphic disorder, Mirror, Photograph, Mirrors


Crowdsourcing dietary ratings for food photographs, which uses the input of several users to provide feedback, has potential to assist with dietary self-monitoring.

Concepts: Computer graphics, Cybernetics, IMAGE, Photography, Photograph, Crowdsourcing


Photographs are commonly taken of children in medical and research contexts. With the increased availability of photographs through the internet, it is increasingly important to consider their potential for negative consequences and the nature of any consent obtained. In this research we explore the issues around photography in low-resource settings, in particular concentrating on the challenges in gaining informed consent.

Concepts: Scientific method, Informed consent, Greek loanwords, Quantitative research, Internet, Photography, Camera, Photograph


Choices are not only communicated via explicit actions but also passively through inaction. In this study we investigated how active or passive choice impacts upon the choice process itself as well as a preference change induced by choice. Subjects were tasked to select a preference for unfamiliar photographs by action or inaction, before and after they gave valuation ratings for all photographs. We replicate a finding that valuation increases for chosen items and decreases for unchosen items compared to a control condition in which the choice was made post re-evaluation. Whether choice was expressed actively or passively affected the dynamics of revaluation differently for positive and negatively valenced items. Additionally, the choice itself was biased towards action such that subjects tended to choose a photograph obtained by action more often than a photographed obtained through inaction. These results highlight intrinsic biases consistent with a tight coupling of action and reward and add to an emerging understanding of how the mode of action itself, and not just an associated outcome, modulates the decision making process.

Concepts: Decision making, Critical thinking, Decision theory, Decision making software, Choice, Photograph, Choice architecture, Wishful thinking


Smartphone cameras are rapidly being introduced in medical practice, among other devices for image-based teleconsultation. Little is known, however, about the actual quality of the images taken, which is the object of this study.

Concepts: Medicine, Photography, Photograph


We investigated whether acutely induced anxiety modifies the ability to match photographed faces. Establishing the extent to which anxiety affects face-matching accuracy is important because of the relevance of face-matching performance to critical security-related applications. Participants (N = 28) completed the Glasgow Face Matching Test twice, once during a 20-min inhalation of medical air and once during a similar inhalation of air enriched with 7.5% CO2, which is a validated method for inducing acute anxiety. Anxiety degraded performance, but only with respect to hits, not false alarms. This finding provides further support for the dissociation between the ability to accurately identify a genuine match between faces and the ability to identify the lack of a match. Problems with the accuracy of facial identification are not resolved even when viewers are presented with a good photographic image of a face, and identification inaccuracy may be heightened when viewers are experiencing acute anxiety.

Concepts: Critical thinking, Face, Identification, Photography, Photograph


Acne vulgaris is a skin disease affecting many young people and, if it continues into their twenties, can be a substantial barrier to social relationships. Although there is evidence that sufferers are adversely psychologically affected, what is less apparent from research to date is whether this is because of negative self-beliefs or the discriminatory attitudes of others. This study set out to explore how far young people with moderate acne are viewed less favourably compared to their clear-skinned peers. The design was quasi-experimental. The faces of two male and two female 21-year-old volunteers with clear skin were photographed and then photographed again after having had facial signs of moderate acne simulated by a professional make-up artist. Photographs of a male and female face were given to 143 participants who were divided randomly into two conditions: “Clear” and “acne”. The former were shown the unblemished faces and the latter were given the faces with acne. The participants were asked to estimate the age of the person in the photograph and then rate the volunteer on a scale of 16 personality items. It was found that the participants in the “clear” condition estimated the volunteers as two years older and more mature than in the “acne” condition. In terms of personality, the photographs in the “clear” condition were given higher scores for potential friendship, attractiveness and overall positive personality features than the photographs in the “acne” condition. The conclusion is that moderate acne vulgaris could be a potential barrier to social relationships for young people not simply because of their social anxiety but because they may well be meeting with prejudice. It is suggested that attitudes might be changed by more accurate information about the condition.

Concepts: Anxiety, Person, Personality psychology, Gender, Avoidant personality disorder, Acne vulgaris, Photography, Photograph


In relationships ‘I’ and ‘you’ become ‘we’; despite individual differences, couples obtain an interdependent identity due to their shared interactions. During a serious illness, biological and biographical disruptions can put any reciprocal relationship under strain. Through intermedial analysis of Judith Fox’s photographic project, I Still Do: Loving and Living with Alzheimer’s (2009), I will explore ways the couple make sense of illness, how illness is communicated through text and image and also to identify the limits of representation. Here the photographs, I argue, solidify their relationship and echo the stuck-in-the-present state of mind brought on by Alzheimer’s.

Concepts: Relationship, English-language films, Interpersonal relationship, Photography, Couples, Reciprocal, Photograph