Bernhard Fink, Nick Neave, John Manning and Karl Grammer

Facial symmetry and the ‘big-five’personality factors

Personality and Individual Differences

The present study investigated possible associations between facial symmetry and actual personality as assessed by the ‘big-five’ personality factors: neuroticism (N), extraversion (E), openness (O), agreeableness (A), and conscientiousness (C). Digital photographs were taken of male and female faces, volunteers also completed the NEO-FFI personality inventory. Facial images were analysed for horizontal symmetry by means of digital image processing. Following previous reports we predicted that facial symmetry should be negatively related to neuroticism but positively related to extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. In general, our data on actual personality confirmed previous reports on perceptions of personality for neuroticism and extraversion. Neuroticism was found to be negatively but not significantly related to facial symmetry whereas extraversion was positively associated. In contrast to previous data, we found significant negative associations between facial symmetry and openness and agreeableness. Conscientiousness was non-significantly related to facial symmetry. The strongest associations with facial symmetry were found for extraversion and openness. Our results suggest that behavioural perceptions of an individual may reflect an individual’s actual personality, and facial symmetry is a correlate of personality. However, because of some inconsistencies between this and previous studies we suggest that (1) the associations between facial symmetry and personality traits require further investigation, and (2) future studies should urge for methodological consistency to make results comparable.