Do Facial Characteristics Influence Acceptance of Health And Safety Messages?
Ian Parker, Ass. Prof Jacques Oosthuizen, Dr Leesa Costello

Physiognomy is the art of judging temperament and character from outward appearance. The aim of this study was to legitimize the expectations of facial physiognomy in audience interpretation and recall of safety related messages. Mixed methods were utilized to describe and analyse data for free facial and image description and the recall of facts presented in the image testimonial. Facial physiognomy was explored along four dimensions ranging from more trustworthy/less trustworthy and more dominant/less dominant dimensions and these images were introduced along with a printed message on electrical safety (n=100). Remarkable interactions between a source-credibility subscale and perceived dominance scale suggests that there is an innate frame of reference used by humans whereby decision judgments are made based on another person’s facial physiognomy. Furthermore, there is an atypical innate and perhaps evolved, or socialized, response with respect to whether humans will approach or avoid another person based on their facial physiognomy and people do make decision judgments based on dominance, trustworthiness, approach or avoidance behaviour and recall of information differs based on somatic facial characteristics when presented with an avatar of a human face in a workplace safety advertisement. The physiognomic appearance of an endorser can influence the believability and attitude components of potential target audiences; and thus, the impact of the intended message.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/ijhs.v3n1a5