Do You Have a Rich Face?

Maurice Richmond
By Maurice Richmond,
updated on Sep 6, 2017

Do You Have a Rich Face?

Researchers claim you can tell a person’s bank balance in a matter of seconds – just by looking at them

How can you spot wealthy folk? For some, it may be a Louis Vuitton handbag. For others, a flashy car. But who’s to say that bag is genuine, or that red Ferrari isn’t on loan?

Scientists say they might have the answer, and it’s written on our faces. In a new twist on first impressions, experts at the University of Toronto found people can “reliably tell” if someone is richer or poorer than average just by looking at a “neutral” face, without any expression. The ability to read a person’s social class only extends to their neutral face, and that smiling or expressing emotions have no bearing.

What's in a face?

How can this be?

Nicholas Rule, Associate Professor, and PhD candidate Thora Bjornsdottir, wrote in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that they believe happiness and wealth don’t necessarily go hand in hand. The research used portraits sorted into groups based on their total family income, with the average being $74,500. Students with a family income of less than $60,000 were classed as “poor”; those with family earning above $100,000 were placed in the “rich” group. Another group of students then used their gut instinct to examine the portraits and decide who was rich or poor – with a 53% accuracy rate.

On wealth and happiness, the researchers concluded: “They mask life-long habits of expression that become etched on a person’s face even by their late teens or early adulthood, such as frequent happiness, which is stereotypically associated with being wealthy and satisfied.”

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