Despite the emerging literature converging on a greater understanding of general non-verbal displays of leadership, there remains scant work exploring the role of the face in this area. A systematic review of the literature was carried out that highlighted specific facial displays that communicated leadership traits throughout our immediate social group. The role of the smile and the frown, the pupil-to-brow distance, facial width-to-height ratio as well as structural cues conveying maturity and gender all play a role in the transmission of leadership. This review also sets the foundation for the introduction of the remaining contributions to the book, which, taken together, provides a platform that addresses the surprising paucity of work in this area and in doing so enables the reader to better understand the crucial role that facial displays have in the conveyance of this fundamental social process.
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See also Keating (1985) for a simply fascinating read.
In light of its importance to the success of the social group, it goes without saying that leadership-type behaviours occur within other non-human groups, see, for example, Allee, Allee, Ritchey, and Castles (1947) for an interesting analysis.
ILT describes a cognitive heuristic that an observer would have about an individual’s ability to be an effective leader (Epitropaki & Martin, 2004). The efficacy of ILT can be measured with behavioural traits such as intelligence and dedication and how they vary within a range of different task contexts (Keller, 2000). Leadership attribution is therefore a dynamic process and not one that merely involves matching expected leadership behaviours to a set of required activities.
See McDermott, Lopez, and Hatemi (2016) for a further discussion of the possibilities of applying a sociobiological approach to the study of political leadership.
See chapter by Stewart and colleagues for a more detailed analysis of the effects of camera time in political debates.
See also Keating, Randall, and Kendrick (1999) for a further exploration into the role that cues of facial maturity can play in judgements of presidential personalities.
It is interesting to note that study of effective organizational behaviour in the form of successful negotiations has started to examine the role that facial displays of power may have, for example, Semnani-Azad and Adair (2011).
See the chapter by Petersen and colleagues for an excellent discussion on the possible adaptive function of fWHR displays.
On a personal note, it was reading Keating, Mazur, and Segall (1977) that inspired me to enrol in a PhD programme in the first place so I am very proud to be able to work with her now.
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Senior, C. (2018). The Facial Displays of Leadership: A Systematic Review of the Literature. In: Senior, C. (eds) The Facial Displays of Leaders. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-94535-4_1
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Online ISBN: 978-3-319-94535-4