Physiognomy
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Physiognomy (from the
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor ...
, , meaning "nature", and , meaning "judge" or "interpreter") is the practice of assessing a person's character or personality from their outer appearance—especially the
face The face is the front of an animal's head that features the eyes Eyes are organs of the visual system. They provide living organisms with vision, the ability to receive and process visual detail, as well as enabling several photo respon ...
. The term can also refer to the general appearance of a person, object, or terrain without reference to its implied characteristics—as in the physiognomy of an individual plant (see
plant life-form Plant life-form schemes constitute a way of classifying plants alternatively to the ordinary species-genus-family scientific classification. In colloquial speech, plants may be classified as trees, shrubs, herbs (forbs and graminoids), etc. The sc ...
) or of a plant
community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as place, norms, religion Religion is usually defined as a social- cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, text ...
(see
vegetation Vegetation is an assemblage of plant species and the ground cover they provide. It is a general term, without specific reference to particular Taxon, taxa, life forms, structure, Spatial ecology, spatial extent, or any other specific Botany, bo ...
). Physiognomy as a practice meets the contemporary definition of
pseudoscience Pseudoscience consists of statements, beliefs, or practices that claim to be both scientific and factual but are incompatible with the scientific method. Pseudoscience is often characterized by contradictory, exaggerated or falsifiability, unfa ...
and it is so regarded among academic circles because of its unsupported claims; popular belief in the practice of physiognomy is nonetheless still widespread. The practice was well-accepted by ancient Greek philosophers, but fell into disrepute in the Middle Ages while practised by vagabonds and mountebanks. It revived and was popularised by
Johann Kaspar Lavater Johann Kaspar (or Caspar) Lavater (; 15 November 1741 – 2 January 1801) was a Switzerland, Swiss poet, writer, philosopher, physiognomist and theologian. Early life Lavater was born in Zürich, and was educated at the ''Gymnasium (school), Gy ...
, before falling from favor in the late 19th century.How your looks betray your personality
– ''New Scientist'' (Magazine issue 2695) – 11 February 2009: Roger Highfield, Richard Wiseman, and Rob Jenkins
Physiognomy in the 19th century is particularly noted as a basis for
scientific racism Scientific racism, sometimes termed biological racism, is the pseudoscience, pseudoscientific belief that empirical evidence exists to support or justify racism (racial discrimination), racial inferiority, or racial superiority.. "Few tragedies ...
. Physiognomy is sometimes referred to as 'anthroposcopy', a term originating in the 19th century.


Ancient

Notions of the relationship between an individual's outward appearance and inner character are historically ancient, and occasionally appear in early
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor ...
poetry.
Siddhar The Siddhar (Tamil: சித்தர் ''cittar'', from Sanskrit: ''siddha'') in Tamils, Tamil tradition is a perfected individual, who has attained spiritual powers called ''siddhi''. Historically, Siddhar also refers to the people who we ...
s from ancient India defined as identifying personal characteristics with body features. Chinese physiognomy or
Chinese face reading Mien shiang ( meaning face () reading ()) is a physiognomic Physiognomy (from the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch ...
() reaches back at least to the
Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period in History of China, Chinese history from approximately 770 to 476 BC (or according to some authorities until 403 BC) which corresponds roughly to the first half of the Eastern Zhou period. The period' ...
. Early indications of a developed physiognomic theory appear in 5th century BC
Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is a coastal city in the Mediterranean and is both the capital and largest city of Greece. With a population close to four million, it is also the seventh largest c ...
, with the works of
Zopyrus Zopyrus (; el, wikt:Ζώπυρος, Ζώπυρος) (fl. 522 BC-500 BC) was a Persian peoples, Persian nobleman mentioned in Herodotus' ''Histories (Herodotus), Histories''. He was son of Megabyzus I, who helped Darius I in his ascension. Acc ...
(who was featured in a dialogue by
Phaedo of Elis Phaedo of Elis (; also ''Phaedon''; grc-gre, Φαίδων ὁ Ἠλεῖος, ''gen''.: Φαίδωνος; fl. 4th century BCE) was a Greek philosophy, Greek philosopher. A native of Elis (city), Elis, he was captured in war as a boy and sold ...
), an expert in the art. By the 4th century BC, the philosopher
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...
frequently referred to theory and literature concerning the relationship of appearance to character. Aristotle was receptive to such an idea, evidenced by a passage in his ''Prior Analytics'': The first systematic physiognomic treatise is a slim volume, (''Physiognomonics''), ascribed to Aristotle, but probably of his "school", rather than created by the philosopher. The volume is divided into two parts, conjectured as originally two separate works. The first section discusses arguments drawn from nature or other races, and concentrates on the concept of human behavior. The second section focuses on animal behavior, dividing the animal kingdom into male and female types. From these are deduced correspondences between human form and character. After Aristotle, the major extant works in physiognomy are: * Polemo of Laodicea, (2nd century AD), in
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor ...
*
Adamantius the Sophist Adamantius or Adamantios may refer to: People Only name * Adamantius (Pseudo-Origen) Adamantius or Adamantios may refer to: People Only name * Adamantius (Pseudo-Origen), 4th-century Christian writer * Adamantius (physician), 5th-century Jewish ...
, (4th century), in Greek *An anonymous
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...
author, (about 4th century) Ancient Greek mathematician, astronomer, and scientist
Pythagoras Pythagoras of Samos ( grc, Πυθαγόρας ὁ Σάμιος, Pythagóras ho Sámios, Pythagoras the Samos, Samian, or simply ; in Ionian Greek; ) was an ancient Ionians, Ionian Ancient Greek philosophy, Greek philosopher and the eponymou ...
—who some believe originated physiognomics—once rejected a prospective follower named Cylon because, to Pythagoras, his appearance indicated bad character.Riedweg, Christop, ''Pythagoras: His Life, Teaching, and Influence''. After inspecting Socrates, a physiognomist announced he was given to intemperance, sensuality, and violent bursts of passion—which was so contrary to Socrates's image, his students accused the physiognomist of lying. Socrates put the issue to rest by saying, originally, he was given to all these vices, but had particularly strong self-discipline.


Middle Ages and Renaissance

The term 'physiognomy' was common in
Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) is a form of the English language that was spoken after the Norman conquest of England, Norman conquest of 1066, until the late 15th century. The English language underwent distinct variations and developments ...
, often written as or , as in the '' Tale of Beryn'', a spurious addition to ''
The Canterbury Tales ''The Canterbury Tales'' ( enm, Tales of Caunterbury) is a collection of twenty-four stories that runs to over 17,000 lines written in Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) is a form of the English language that was spoken af ...
'': . Physiognomy's validity was once widely accepted.
Michael Scot Michael Scot (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around pre ...
, a court scholar for
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II (German language, German: ''Friedrich''; Italian language, Italian: ''Federico''; Latin: ''Federicus''; 26 December 1194 – 13 December 1250) was King of Sicily from 1198, King of Germany from 1212, King of Italy and Holy Roman Em ...
, wrote in the early 13th century concerning the subject. English universities taught physiognomy until
Henry VIII of England Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England from 22 April 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry is best known for his Wives of Henry VIII, six marriages, and for his efforts to have his first marriage (to Catherine of Aragon) ...
outlawed "beggars and vagabonds playing 'subtile, crafty and unlawful games such as physnomye or ' palmestrye'" in 1530 or 1531. Around this time, scholastic leaders settled on the more erudite Greek form 'physiognomy' and began to discourage the entire concept of 'fisnamy'.
Leonardo da Vinci Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (15 April 14522 May 1519) was an Italian polymath of the High Renaissance who was active as a painter, Drawing, draughtsman, engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor, and architect. While his fame initially res ...
dismissed physiognomy in the early 16th century as "false", a chimera with "no scientific foundation". Nevertheless, Leonardo believed that lines caused by facial expressions could indicate personality traits. For example, he wrote that "those who have deep and noticeable lines between the eyebrows are irascible". Unabridged republication of ''The Genius of Leonardo da Vinci'', originally published by Orion Press, New York, 1961.


Modern


Johann Kaspar Lavater

The principal promoter of physiognomy in modern times was the Swiss pastor
Johann Kaspar Lavater Johann Kaspar (or Caspar) Lavater (; 15 November 1741 – 2 January 1801) was a Switzerland, Swiss poet, writer, philosopher, physiognomist and theologian. Early life Lavater was born in Zürich, and was educated at the ''Gymnasium (school), Gy ...
(1741–1801) who was briefly a friend of
Goethe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German people, German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, politician, statesman, theatre director, and critic. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe bibliography, His works include pla ...
. Lavater's essays on physiognomy were first published in German in 1772 and gained great popularity. These influential essays were translated into French and English.


Thomas Browne

Lavater found confirmation of his ideas from the English physician-philosopher Sir Thomas Browne (1605–1682), and the Italian
Giambattista Della Porta Giambattista della Porta (; 1535 – 4 February 1615), also known as Giovanni Battista Della Porta, was an Italians, Italian scholar, polymath and playwright who lived in Naples at the time of the Renaissance, Scientific Revolution and Protestant ...
(1535–1615). Browne in his '' Religio Medici'' (1643) discusses the possibility of the discernment of inner qualities from the outer appearance of the face, thus: He reaffirmed his physiognomic beliefs in '' Christian Morals'' (''circa'' 1675): Browne also introduced the word
caricature A caricature is a rendered image showing the features of its subject in a simplified or exaggerated way through sketching, pencil strokes, or other artistic drawings (compare to: cartoon). Caricatures can be either insulting or complimentary, a ...
into the English language, whence much of physiognomical belief attempted to entrench itself by illustrative means, in particular through visual political satire. Della Porta's works are well represented in the Library of Sir Thomas Browne including ''Of Celestial Physiognomy'', in which Porta argued that it was not the stars but a person's temperament that influences their facial appearance and character. In ''De humana physiognomia ''(1586), Porta used woodcuts of animals to illustrate human characteristics. Both Della Porta and Browne adhered to the '
doctrine of signatures The doctrine of signatures, dating from the time of Pedanius Dioscorides, Dioscorides and Galen, states that herbs resembling various parts of the body can be used by herbalists to treat ailments of those body parts. A theological justification, ...
'—that is, the belief that the physical structures of nature such as a plant's roots, stem, and flower, were indicative keys (or 'signatures') to their medicinal potentials.


Lavater's critics

Lavater received mixed reactions from scientists, with some accepting his research and others criticizing it. For example, the harshest critic was scientist
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1 July 1742 – 24 February 1799) was a German physicist, satirist, and Anglophile. As a scientist, he was the first to hold a professorship explicitly dedicated to experimental physics in Germany. He is remembered for ...
, who said
pathognomy Pathognomy is 'a ‘''semiotik''’ of the transient features of someone's face or body, be it voluntary or involuntary'. Examples of this can be laughter and winking to the involuntary such as sneezing or coughing. By studying the features or ...
, discovering the character by observing the behaviour, was more effective. Writer
Hannah More Hannah More (2 February 1745 – 7 September 1833) was an English religious writer, philanthropist, poet and playwright in the circle of Dr Samuel Johnson, Johnson, Joshua Reynolds, Reynolds and David Garrick, Garrick, who wrote on moral and rel ...
complained to
Horace Walpole Horatio Walpole (), 4th Earl of Orford (24 September 1717 – 2 March 1797), better known as Horace Walpole, was an English writer, art historian, man of letters, antiquarian, and Whigs (British political party), Whig politician. He had Strawb ...
, "In vain do we boast ... that philosophy had broken down all the strongholds of prejudice, ignorance, and superstition; and yet, at this very time ... Lavater's physiognomy books sell at fifteen guineas a set."


Period of popularity

The popularity of physiognomy grew throughout the first quarter of the 18th century and into the 19th century. It was discussed seriously by academics, who believed in its potential.


Use in fiction

Many European novelists used physiognomy in the descriptions of their characters, notably Balzac,
Chaucer Geoffrey Chaucer (; – 25 October 1400) was an English poet, author, and civil servant best known for ''The Canterbury Tales''. He has been called the "father of English literature", or, alternatively, the "father of English poetry". He wa ...
and portrait artists, such as
Joseph Ducreux Joseph, Baron Ducreux (26 June 1735 – 24 July 1802) was a French noble, portrait painter, pastelist, portrait miniature, miniaturist, and engraving, engraver, who was a successful portraitist at the court of Louis XVI of France, and resumed his ...
. A host of 19th-century English authors were influenced by the idea, notably evident in the detailed physiognomic descriptions of characters in the novels of
Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian er ...
,
Thomas Hardy Thomas Hardy (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Literary realism, Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by Romanticism, including the poetr ...
, and Charlotte Brontë. In addition to Thomas Browne, other literary authors associated with
Norwich Norwich () is a cathedral city and district of Norfolk, England, of which it is the county town. Norwich is by the River Wensum, about north-east of London, north of Ipswich and east of Peterborough. As the seat of the Episcopal see, See of ...
who made physiognomical observations in their writings include the romantic novelist
Amelia Opie Amelia Opie (née Alderson; 12 November 1769 – 2 December 1853) was an English author who published numerous novels in the romantic literature, Romantic period up to 1828. Opie was also a leading Abolitionism in the United Kingdom, abolitionis ...
, and the travelogue author
George Borrow George Henry Borrow (5 July 1803 – 26 July 1881) was an English writer of novels and of travel Travel is the movement of people between distant geographical Location (geography), locations. Travel can be done by Pedestrian, foot, bicy ...
. Physiognomy is a central, implicit assumption underlying the plot of
Oscar Wilde Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 185430 November 1900) was an Irish poet and playwright. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of the most popular playwrights in London in the early 1890s. He is ...
's ''
The Picture of Dorian Gray ''The Picture of Dorian Gray'' is a philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the systematized study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind ...
''. In 19th-century American literature, physiognomy figures prominently in the short stories of
Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe (; Edgar Poe; January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer, poet, editor, and literary criticism, literary critic. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the ...
.


Phrenology

Phrenology Phrenology () is a pseudoscience Pseudoscience consists of statements, beliefs, or practices that claim to be both scientific and factual but are incompatible with the scientific method. Pseudoscience is often characterized by contradictory ...
, also considered a form of physiognomy, was created around 1800 by German physician
Franz Joseph Gall Franz Josef Gall (; 9 March 175822 August 1828) was a German neuroanatomist, physiology, physiologist, and pioneer in the study of the localization of mental functions in the brain. Claimed as the founder of the pseudoscience of phrenology, Gall ...
and
Johann Spurzheim Johann Gaspar Spurzheim (31 December 1776 – 10 November 1832) was a German physician who became one of the chief proponents of phrenology Phrenology () is a pseudoscience Pseudoscience consists of statements, beliefs, or practices t ...
, and was widely popular in the 19th century in
Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a Continent#Subcontinents, subcontinent of Eurasia ...
and the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
. In the U.S., physician James W. Redfield published his ''Comparative Physiognomy'' in 1852, illustrating with 330 engravings the "Resemblances between Men and Animals". He finds these in appearance and (often metaphorically) character, e.g. Germans to Lions, Negroes to Elephants and Fishes, Chinamen to Hogs, Yankees to Bears, Jews to Goats. In the late 19th century, it became associated with phrenology and consequently discredited and rejected. Nevertheless, the German physiognomist Carl Huter (1861–1912) became popular in Germany with his concept of physiognomy, called "psycho-physiognomy".


Criminology

During the late 19th century, English psychometrician
Sir Francis Galton Sir Francis Galton, FRS FRAI (; 16 February 1822 – 17 January 1911), was an English Victorian era In the history of the United Kingdom and the British Empire, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from ...
attempted to define physiognomic characteristics of health, disease, beauty, and criminality, via a method of composite photography. Galton's process involved the photographic superimposition of two or more faces by multiple exposures. After averaging together photographs of violent criminals, he found that the composite appeared "more respectable" than any of the faces comprising it; this was likely due to the irregularities of the skin across the constituent images being averaged out in the final blend. With the advent of computer technology during the early 1990s, Galton's composite technique has been adopted and greatly improved using computer graphics software. Physiognomy also became of use in the field of
Criminology Criminology (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) arou ...
through efforts made by Italian army doctor and scientist,
Cesare Lombroso Cesare Lombroso (, also ; ; born Ezechia Marco Lombroso; 6 November 1835 – 19 October 1909) was an Italian criminology, criminologist, phrenology, phrenologist, physician, and founder of the Italian school of criminology, Italian School of ...
. Lombroso, during the mid 19th century, championed the notion that "criminality was inherited and that criminals could be identified by physical attributes such as hawk-like noses and bloodshot eyes". Lombroso took inspiration from the recently released ideologies and studies of Darwin and carried many of the misunderstandings that he had regarding evolution into the propagation of the use of physiognomy in criminology. His logic stemmed from the idea that "criminals were 'throwbacks' in the phylogenetic tree to early phases of evolution". Bearing this in mind, it is reasonable to conclude that "according to Lombroso, a regressive characteristic united the genius, the madman and the delinquent; they differed in the intensity of this characteristic and, naturally in the degree of development of the positive qualities". He believed that one could determine whether one was of savage nature just by their physical characteristics. Based on his findings, "Lombroso proposed that the "born criminal" could be distinguished by physical atavistic ''stigmata'', such as: * Large jaws, forward projection of jaw * Low sloping forehead * High cheekbones * Flattened or upturned nose * Handle-shaped ears * Hawk-like noses or fleshy lips * Hard shifty eyes * Scanty beard or baldness * Insensitivity to pain * Long arms relative to lower limbs This interest in the relationship between criminology and physiognomy began upon Lombroso's first interaction with "a notorious Calabrian thief and arsonist" named Giuseppe Villella. Lombroso was particularly taken by many striking personality characteristics that Villella possessed; agility and cynicism being some of them. Villella’s alleged crimes are disputed and Lombroso’s research is seen by many as northern Italian racism toward southern Italians. Upon Villella's death, Lombroso "conducted a post-mortem and discovered that his subject had an indentation at the back of his skull, which resembled that found in apes". He later referred to this anomaly as the "median occipital depression". Lombroso used the term "atavism" to describe these primitive, ape-like behaviors that he found in many of those whom he deemed prone to criminality. As he continued analyzing the data he gathered from said autopsy and comparing and contrasting these results with previous cases, he inferred that certain physical characteristics allowed for some individuals to have a greater "propensity to offend and were also savage throwbacks to early man". These sorts of examinations yielded far-reaching consequences for various scientific and medical communities at the time; "the ''natural genesis'' of crime implied that the criminal personality should be regarded as a particular form of psychiatric disease". Furthermore, these ideals promoted the idea that when a crime is committed, it is no longer seen as "free will" but instead a result of one's genetic pre-disposition to savagery. He had numerous case studies to corroborate many of his findings due to the fact that he was the head of an insane asylum at Pesaro. He was easily able to study people from various walks of life and was thus able to further define criminal types. Because his theories primarily focused on anatomy and anthropological information, the idea of degeneracy being a source of atavism was not explored till later on in his criminological endeavors. These "new and improved" theories led to the notion "that the born criminal had pathological symptoms in common with the moral imbecile and the epileptic, and this led him to expand his typology to include the insane criminal and the epileptic criminal". In addition, "the insane criminal type as said toinclude the alcoholic, the mattoid, and the hysterical criminal". Lombroso's ideologies are now recognized as flawed, and regarded as pseudo-science. Many have remarked on the overt sexist and racist overtones of his research, and denounce it for those reasons alone. In spite of many of his theories being discredited, he is still hailed as the father of "scientific criminology". Modern criminology finds many of his teachings incorrect, but he had a great influence over criminology and physiognomy at the time.


Contemporary usage

In France, the concept developed in the 20th century under the name morphopsychology, developed by Louis Corman (1901–1995), a French
psychiatrist A psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in psychiatry, the branch of medicine devoted to the diagnosis, prevention, study, and treatment of mental disorders. Psychiatrists are physicians and evaluate patients to determine whether their sy ...
who argued that the workings of vital forces within the human body resulted in different facial shapes and forms.
/ref> For example, full and round body shapes are considered the expression of the instinct of expansion while the hollow or flat shapes are an expression of self-preservation. The term "morphopsychology" is a translation of the French word ''morphopsychologie'', which Louis Corman coined in 1937 when he wrote his first book on the subject, ''Quinze leçons de morphopsychologie'' (Fifteen Lessons of Morphopsychology). Corman was influenced by the French medical doctor, doctor Claude Sigaud (1862–1921), incorporating his idea of "dilation and retraction" into morphopsychology.


Scientific investigation

Research in the 1990s indicated that three elements of personality in particular – power, warmth and honesty – can be reliably inferred.Chamorro-Premuzic, Tomas and Adrian Furnham. ''The Psychology of Personnel Selection''. 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Cambridge Books Online. Web. 07 April 2016. pages 13-14 Some evidence indicated that the pattern of whorls in the scalp had some correlation to male homosexuality, though subsequent research has largely refuted the findings on hair whorl patterns. A February 2009 article in ''
New Scientist ''New Scientist'' is a magazine A magazine is a periodical literature, periodical publication, generally published on a regular schedule (often weekly or monthly), containing a variety of content (media), content. They are generally financ ...
'' magazine reported that physiognomy is living a small revival, with research papers trying to find links between personality traits and facial traits. A study of 90 ice hockey players found a statistically significant correlation between a wider face—a greater than average cheekbone-to-cheekbone distance relative to the distance between brow and upper lip—and the number of penalty minutes a player received for violent acts like slashing, elbowing, checking from behind, and fighting. This revival has been confirmed in the 2010s with the rise of machine learning for facial recognition. For instance, researchers have claimed that it is possible to predict upper body strength and some personality traits (propensity to aggression) only by looking at the width of the face. Political orientation can also be reliably predicted. In 2017, a controversial study claimed that an algorithm could detect sexual orientation 'more accurately than humans' (in 81% of the tested cases for men and 71% for women). A director of research of the
Human Rights Campaign The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is an American LGBTQ advocacy group. It is the largest LGBT, LGBTQ political lobbying organization within the United States. Based in Washington, D.C., the organization focuses on protecting and expanding LGBT right ...
(HRC) accused the study of being "junk science" to the
BBC #REDIRECT BBC
Here i going to introduce about the best teacher of my life b BALAJI sir. He is the precious gift that I got befor 2yrs . How has helped and thought all the concept and made my success in the 10th board exam. ...
. The director, an 'equity and inclusion strategist' with no scientific background, was criticized by the researchers for "premature judgement". The researchers criticized
GLAAD GLAAD (), an acronym of Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, is an American non-governmental organization, non-governmental media monitoring organization originally founded as a protest against defamatory coverage of gay and lesbian demo ...
and HRC's press release for falsely stating the paper was not peer reviewed. In early 2018, researchers, among them two specialists of AI working at Google (one of the two on face recognition), issued a reportedly contradicting study based on a survey of 8,000 Americans using Amazon's Mechanical Turk crowd-sourcing platform. The survey yielded many traits helping to discriminate between gay and straight respondents with a series of yes/no questions. These traits had actually less to do with morphology than with grooming, presentation, and lifestyle (makeup, facial hair, glasses, angle of pictures taken of self, etc.). For more information of this sexual orientation issue in general, see gaydar. In 2020, a study on the use of consumer facial images for marketing research purposes concluded that deep learning on facial images can extract a variety of personal information relevant to marketers and so users' facial images could become a basis for ad targeting on
Tinder Tinder is easily combustible material used to start a fire. Tinder is a finely divided, open material which will begin to glow under a shower of sparks. Air is gently wafted over the glowing tinder until it bursts into flame. The flaming tinder i ...
and
Facebook Facebook is an online social media and social networking service owned by American company Meta Platforms. Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dusti ...
. According to the study, while most of facial images' predictive power is attributable to basic demographics (age, gender, race) extracted from the face, image artifacts, observable facial characteristics, and other image features extracted by
deep learning Deep learning (also known as deep structured learning) is part of a broader family of machine learning methods based on artificial neural networks with representation learning. Learning can be Supervised learning, supervised, Semi-supervised l ...
all contribute to prediction quality beyond demographics. Critics of physiognomy say that the human mind tends to extrapolate emotions from facial expressions (e.g.,
blushing Blushing is the reddening of a person's face due to psychological Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of conscious and unconscious phenomena, including feelings and thoughts. It is a ...
) and physiognomy, with its assumption of permanent characteristics, is only an over-generalization of this skill. Also, if one classifies a person as untrustworthy due to facial features, ''and treats them as such'', that person may eventually behave in an untrustworthy way toward the person holding this belief (see
self-fulfilling prophecy A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that comes true at least in part as a result of a person's or group of persons' belief or Expectation (epistemic), expectation that said prediction would come true. This suggests that people's beliefs in ...
).


In media

In 2011, the South Korean news agency
Yonhap Yonhap News Agency is a major South Korean news agency. It is based in Seoul, South Korea. Yonhap provides news articles, pictures and other information to List of South Korean newspapers, newspapers, List of Korean TV networks, TV networks and ...
published a physiognomical analysis of the current leader of
North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia. It constitutes the northern half of the Korea, Korean Peninsula and shares borders with China and Russia to the north, at the Yalu River, Y ...
,
Kim Jong-Un Kim Jong-un (; , ; born 8 January 1982) is a North Korean politician who has been Supreme Leader (North Korean title), Supreme Leader of North Korea since 2011 and the General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, leader of the Workers' P ...
.The Face tells all
, The Center For Arms Control And Non-Proliferation


Related disciplines

*
Anthropological criminology Anthropological criminology (sometimes referred to as criminal anthropology, literally a combination of the study of the human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species of primate, characterized by bipedality ...
*
Anthropometry Anthropometry () refers to the measurement of the human individual. An early tool of biological anthropology, physical anthropology, it has been used for identification, for the purposes of understanding human physical variation, in paleoanthrop ...
* Characterology *
Metoposcopy Metoposcopy is a form of divination in which the diviner predicts personality, character, and destiny, based on the pattern of lines on the subject's forehead. It was in use in the Classical era, and was widespread in the Middle Ages, reaching its ...
* Onychomancy *
Palmistry Palmistry is the pseudoscientific practice of fortune-telling through the study of the palm. Also known as palm reading, chiromancy, chirology or cheirology, the practice is found all over the world, with numerous cultural variations. Those ...
*
Pathognomy Pathognomy is 'a ‘''semiotik''’ of the transient features of someone's face or body, be it voluntary or involuntary'. Examples of this can be laughter and winking to the involuntary such as sneezing or coughing. By studying the features or ...
*
Phrenology Phrenology () is a pseudoscience Pseudoscience consists of statements, beliefs, or practices that claim to be both scientific and factual but are incompatible with the scientific method. Pseudoscience is often characterized by contradictory ...
* Somatotype and constitutional psychology


References


Further reading

* Claudia Schmölders, ''Hitler's Face: The Biography of an Image''. Translated by Adrian Daub. University of Pennsylvania Press: 2006. . * Liz Gerstein
About Face
SterlingHouse Publisher, Inc. * * Rüdiger Campe and Manfred Schndier, Geschichten der Physiognomik. Text-Bild-Wissen, (Freiburg: Rombach, 1996).


External links

*Johann Kaspar Lavate
On ''The Nature of Man, Which is the Foundation of the Science Which is called Physiognomy''
1775 *

* ttp://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/7884223.stm Women's traits 'written on face' (BBC News Wednesday, 11 February 2009)br>"On Physiognomy" – An Essay by Arthur Schopenhauer"Composite Portraits", by Francis Galton, 1878 (as published in the ''Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland'', volume 8)."Enquiries into Human Faculty and its Development", book by Francis Galton, 1883.French Society for Morphopsychology
{{Authority control Pseudoscience de:Physiognomik