Face It!

What does your face say?

To a large extent, people agree on how friendly, trustworthy, attractive, masculine/feminine, and so on a face appears. We have studied the effects of appearance on first impressions and personality, from which we have built models predicting how a face is likely to be judged by a stranger. This study is based on the results from 244 Danish participants, who were asked to rate each other based on twelve traits from facial photographs. We extracted facial features from the photographs by the use of an Appearance Model, and built a set of linear regression models, predicting the twelf traits from the facial appearances. Here, we give you the opportunity to test the model out on a picture of your own face! However, please note that there is a degree of uncertainty in the predictions, especially for some of the traits. We also found that participants were more in agreement when scoring men, and therefore our prediction accuracy is substantially larger for men compared to women. So please, do not take your test results too seriously.

The Halo-effect, Dominance and Trustworthiness

Attractiveness is an important factor in social interactions, and our work shows, as many researchers has shown earlier, that if a person is attractive, he or she is also very likely labelled positively in other areas: An effect known as the halo-effect. We see this effect in large correlations between the positively loaded traits, that we also analyzed in this study: "Attractive", "Healthy", "Emotionally Stable", "Extraverted" and "Adventurous". Additionally, our results revealed two other trait groupings with "Dominant", "Masculine" and "Temperamental" in one group and "Trustworthy", "Responsible", "Friendly" and "Intelligent" in the other group. This means that a "Masculine"-looking man is often also judged as more "Dominating" and "Temperamental". There are of course also links between trait groupings; e.g. a woman judged as less "Feminine" is often scored low on "Attractive", "Healthy" and "Extraverted".
Our results again show that faces are evaluated based on three factors; "Trustworthiness", "Dominance" and "Attractiveness" [1,2].

So, is there an effect on personality?

Not conclusively, but systematic analyses using a large number of participants have revealed subtle agreements between some appearance-based impressions and actual personalities - especially if the way a person moves and talks is part of the input [3,4]. Some facial cues are even so strong, that they are revealed from a photo. In our study, we for example found that women rated as looking "Adventurous" (Danish: "Eventyrlysten") to have a slight tendency to score higher in the corresponding personality trait "Openness to Experience". Similarly, if a woman is rated as "Dominating" she is actually somewhat more likely to also be socially dominant, and if a man is rated as looking "Responsible" and "Intelligent" he is also likely to be more "Trusting".

Does it influence us, and shape who we are?

It is not proven, but likely. Intuitively it makes sense that we react to signals from our surroundings. If others see us as trustworthy and treat us so, then we will react on this treatment, which could have an effect on our development of personality.

If you would like to know more, please, take a look at our recent paper and some of the references that you will find under Publications & Press.

Test Yourself!

What can we tell from your face? If you want to see how other people perceive you, based on our models, you can use the form below. Upload a portrait image of your face from the front, preferably with open eyes, a neutral expression and no hair obscuring the face. Next, the portrait will be annotated for several landmarks points (e.g. eyes, nose, mouth), which you will then be asked to adjust to better fit your face. When the annotation has been submitted, facial features will be extracted and used as predictors in our model. This will give you twelve trait scores based on your face, which can give you an indication of, how other people may perceive you at a first glance.

In summary:

  1. Upload an image of your face (max 2 Mb, supported file types are JPG and PNG), select your gender and the number of manually annotated points
  2. Run the test by clicking the "Test My Face!" button, after which the annotation point positions will be calculated
  3. Adjust the annotation point positions to better fit your face
  4. Run the final prediction, and see how people may perceive your personality!
Notice! All uploaded images are deleted straight after the prediction has been performed. Prediction results are only saved, if you chose to share them with your friends. We will not share or redistribute your images or prediction results in any way.

(max 2 Mb, supported file types: JPG and PNG)

Image Preview:

First pick a portrait image...

Gender Female Male
No. of Annotation Points 16 43

Remember! The portrait image of your face should be from the front, preferably with open eyes, a neutral expression and no hair obscuring the face, as seen on the left picture with the green checkmark below. The model will not work properly, if at all, if you use any picture similar to the ones marked with red crosses. Do not use pictures taken from odd angles, pictures with an unneutral face, group pictures, pictures from the side, pictures where the face is only a small part of the entire image, rotated and blurred images etc. A preview of your picture will be shown before uploading, giving you the opportunity to check the quality before submitting.

How Does It Work?

This study is based on results from 244 Danish participants, who we asked to rate one another for twelve traits based on photographs. We extracted facial features from the photographs by use of an Appearance Model and built a set of linear regression models predicting the traits based on facial features.

If you want to see how other people perceive you, based on our models, you can use the form above. Upload an image of your face, preferably from the front, with open eyes, mouth closed and a neutral expression. After the image has been uploaded, it will be annotated and you will be asked to adjust the annotation points. When the annotation has been submitted your facial features will be extracted and used as predictors in our linear regression models. This will give you twelve trait scores for your face indicating how other people perceive you (in this picture) at first glance. Have a look at our article if you want to know more about the methods used in the analyses.

Please note: Results are only valid for this pictured face! You do not look exactly the same in different pictures, and your face will score differently depending on your expression, lighting, how open your eyes are, whether or not you look directly into the camera, etc.

Publications & Press

If you want to read more about this project, you might find the following publication of interest.


Wolffhechel K. et al. (2014) Interpretation of Appearance: The Effect of Facial Features on First Impressions and Personality. PLOS ONE.
Appearance is known to influence social interactions, which in turn could potentially influence personality development. In this study we focus on discovering the relationship between self-reported personality traits, first impressions and facial characteristics. The results reveal that several personality traits can be read above chance from a face, and that facial features influence first impressions. Despite the former, our prediction model fails to reliably infer personality traits from either facial features or first impressions. First impressions, however, could be inferred more reliably from facial features. We have generated artificial, extreme faces visualising the characteristics having an effect on first impressions for several traits. Conclusively, we find a relationship between first impressions, some personality traits and facial features and consolidate that people on average assess a given face in a highly similar manner.


Do our faces reveal our personality?
Technologist, February 16th 2015
Test dig selv: Sådan opfatter andre dig ud fra dit udseende
Metroxpress, February 14th 2015 (Danish)
Test dig selv: Dit ansigt afslører andres opfattelse af dig
TV2, February 13th 2015 (Danish)
Prøv testen: Det tænker folk, når de ser dig
Politiken, November 30th 2014 (Danish).
ATS: Ansigtstræk afslører personlighed
Avisen.dk, November 25th 2014 (Danish).
Ny test afslører, hvad folk tænker, når de ser dig
Politiken, November 25th 2014 (Danish).
Kan ansigtet afsløre vores personlighed? (Digital version of the printed newspaper articled)
DTU, December 14nd 2014 (Danish, text version in English)


Who we are, and how to reach us.

Image Analysis Expert
Jens Fagertun
Email: jenf@dtu.dk
Prediction Expert
Karin Wolffhechel
Email: karinw@cbs.dtu.dk
Head of Web Work
Ulrik Plesner Jacobsen
Email: plesner@cbs.dtu.dk
Project Leader
Hanne Østergaard Jarmer
Email: hanne@cbs.dtu.dk