Current Psychology

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 242–251 | Cite as

The Role of Face Familiarity in Judgments of Personality and Intelligence

  • Arne Weigold
  • Ingrid K. Weigold
  • Sara N. Natera
  • Elizabeth J. Russell


Personality judgments based on facial features are a common occurrence. The face familiarity overgeneralization hypothesis states that people make judgments of unknown faces based on their similarity to known faces. However, there is a dearth of research regarding how face familiarity relates to perceptions of personality and intelligence in strangers. The current article used two studies to provide evidence for the relationship between face familiarity and judgments of personality and intelligence. Study 1 showed that photographs perceived as familiar by one set of participants were rated more positively regarding personality and intelligence by a second group of participants. Study 2 found that high perceived familiarity resulted in positive judgments of personality and intelligence, whereas familiarity based on exposure did not. These findings indicate both that perceived familiarity significantly impacts positive judgments of personality and intelligence and that the face familiarity overgeneralization hypothesis is a useful framework for this area of research.


Face familiarity Perceived familiarity Episodic familiarity Personality judgments Face familiarity overgeneralization hypothesis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arne Weigold
    • 1
  • Ingrid K. Weigold
    • 2
  • Sara N. Natera
    • 3
  • Elizabeth J. Russell
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNotre Dame CollegeSouth EuclidUSA
  2. 2.Department of CounselingThe University of AkronAkronUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyCleveland State UniversityClevelandUSA

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