Neuroscience and Social Decision Making Series
Impressions from faces are consequential, shaping important social outcomes. Empirical studies and computational models show that women are at disadvantage because of gender biases in impressions. First, impressions of women are less differentiated than impressions of men and highly valence-laden. Specifically, impressions of social traits (e.g., trustworthiness, dominance) are more highly inter-correlated for women than men. Correspondingly, computational models of first impressions show that people use more similar facial information when forming different impressions for women than for men. Second, once controlled for attractiveness, impressions of competence are based on masculinity cues. Specifically, when attractiveness is removed from the model of competence impressions, people's ratings of competence are highly correlated with multiple measures of masculinity. Implications for social psychology and social fairness are discussed.