Head Tilt and Perceptions of Dominance: A Facial Expression Imposter?

  • Zachary Witkower, Psychology
    Coach House, Green College, UBC
    Monday, January 9, 8-9 pm
    in the series
    Green College Resident Members' Series
  • Recent evidence suggests that the body plays an important role in forming impressions of personality (Witkower, Tracy, Cheng, & Henrich, in prep), and emotion (Witkower & Tracy, under review). While several studies have linked head position to evaluations of dominance, there is controversy surrounding the nature of this relationship (i.e., whether an upwards or downwards head tilt increases perceptions of dominance) and the mechanism underlying the effect (i.e., whether it is due to increased expansiveness or altering visible ratios in the face related to testosterone). Across several studies, Zachary Witkower demonstrates that: (a) when eye gaze is directed forward, dominance perceptions primarily result from head tilted down rather than up, (b) this effect cannot be explained by either increased expansiveness or increasing the facial width-to-height ratio, and (c) the best explanation is a novel one—that tilting the head down deceptively conveys the appearance of activating the corrugator muscle in the face – a behavior that communicates threat and anger across cultures. Together, these studies provide new clarity and theoretical insight regarding the impact of the head in forming impressions of dominance.
  • Unless otherwise noted, all of our lectures are free to attend and do not require registration.


January 9th, 2017 from  8:00 PM to  9:00 PM
Coach House
6201 Cecil Green Park Rd
Green College, UBC
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
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Speaker Series Green College Resident Members' Series
Short Title Head Tilt and Perceptions of Dominance
Speaker (new) Zachary Witkower, Psychology
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Speaker Last Name Witkower
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