One of Us: Towards a New Approach to Cross-Cultural Typicality and Distinctiveness

Date: 
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Speaker: 
Assoc. Prof. Karel Kleisner

ONE OF US: TOWARDS A NEW APPROACH TO CROSS-CULTURAL TYPICALITY AND DISTINCTIVENESS

 

Assoc. Prof. Karel Kleisner

Charles University

 

While some human faces resemble the standards of facial appearance typical of their cultural group, other faces have appearances that are closer to faces from distant populations. Such deviation from population standards are often described by various concepts of distinctiveness. The averageness, i.e. the distance of a face to population average, is probably the most often used measure of distinctiveness and/or typicality. Nevertheless, typicality and distinctiveness expressed by averageness does not tell much when two cultures are compared because averageness varies in all directions from origin. Therefore, we propose a simple and robust measure of distinctiveness/typicality based on position of an individual along the axis connecting the facial averages of two populations under comparison. The more a face is distant from its in-group population mean towards the out-group mean the more distinct it is and the more it resembles the outgroup standards. The presentation will describe the proposed method, provide some empirical tests, and discuss its social and evolutionary consequences. Looking like a stranger may be somewhat stressful within home culture. The same facial appearance, however, might become advantageous or even adaptive within an outgroup population.  Thanks to the immense variation of human face every single person has a chance to find a culture where he/she appears typical.


 

Date: Thursday, October 19, 2017

Time: 15:00

Place: Psychology Building Seminar Room