5 Personal Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Someone
They say you should never judge a book by its cover. But when it comes to people, covers are the shit. As we've discussed before, certain personality quirks and intimate details are totally given away by our appearance.
All you need to know is how to interpret them. As before, these are not 100 percent -- we're only dealing in probabilities. Still, it's weird to know that ...
Their Shoes Can Reveal Their Personality Type
We're not talking about the obvious here, the way goths and metalheads deal in black boots, hippies have their sandals, and hipsters will tie their grandmother's old curtains around their feet if it gives them an excuse to look down on someone. According to science, the soled husks that cover a stranger's feet are probably revealing details about how they deal with other people.
We're calling it: date rapist.
How It Works
A study by a pair of colleges found some peculiar trends in our choice of shoes, but not what you might think. Subjects couldn't deduce, say, political affiliation by looking at shoes, but could deduce a shit-ton of extremely personal information, including your potentially insecure, clingy behavior in close relationships. Some examples, brought to you by science:
-Anxious, clingy people prefer new and well-maintained footwear to ease their bundle of nerves.
"Ah, better than a Xanax."
-People who wear practical shoes tend to be relatively agreeable.
-Calm, collected folks seem to get a kick out of wearing shoes that look uncomfortable (maybe to express the roaring ball of mayhem and agony they're constantly hiding within?).
-Aggressive people tend to wear ankle boots, which seems to have no inherent logic at all ... until you realize that they're clearly subconsciously selecting their footwear for better kicking-stuff-angrily ergonomics.
"Oh yeah, that's a pair of Class 5 Coccyx Breakers."
If you're reading this and thinking, "Well, my shoes don't say anything deep about my personality, I just picked them because they were comfortable and cheap!" keep in mind that it's a certain personality type who thinks that way. That's the point -- no matter what logic you think you're following in your own head when you step into your local mall's Shoes 'N' Shit store, you're still following logic that makes sense to your personality type. Making that purchase reveals that type to the world.
If They're Eating Candy, They're Probably Nicer
Imagine a likeable person. Pay particular attention to the qualities that make people perceive her as "nice." You might describe her as helpful. Fun, definitely. Honest when it counts, malleable enough to take the punches while you run away from the MMA fighter you just drunkenly mooned. All that goes with the territory. Perhaps, if you're feeling sappy enough, you might even describe the person as "sweet."
Sweet. That's a funny word in this context, now that we come to think of it. There's nothing about nice people that makes them sweet, unless you go out of your way to caramelize them. So what started this association between "sweet" and "nice"? Their everyday behavior, apparently -- it looks like munching on candy can turn a person into a regular good Samaritan.
"Very well, cotton candy. I'll pack his chest wound with gauze, if you insist."
How It Works
To be clear, we're not talking about how giving somebody a candy bar will put them in a better mood and thus make them more willing to do nice things (although one experiment did find that, it's also kind of obvious). No, they actually did five different studies (the abstract of which hilariously points out that nice people indeed rarely taste sweeter than others, thus gently alluding to another, far darker research project behind this one) and found that a general preference for candy means the person is also more likely to be agreeable and do good deeds, just because. They were just nicer people than the ones who, say, prefer potato chips instead of chocolate at snack time.
"These chips would go great with burning several men to death in an elevator."
And it gets weirder: Test subjects already knew that this would be the result. The subjects they surveyed anticipated that the candy-loving subjects would be more selfless and agreeable than people who liked savory or salty snacks. The experiment was just confirming what people had already observed in their everyday lives, even though it makes no sense. So maybe the innate goodness that lies in the heart of mankind is actually diabetes.
Using Her Right Arm to Cradle a Baby Might Mean She's Depressed
Having a baby is supposed to be the happiest occasion of a woman's life, but 1 in 10 mothers suffer from postnatal depression. Maybe that's not so surprising -- it's a lot of stress, both mentally and physically, plus you have this little goblin thing shrieking while you're trying to sleep at night.
"Let's make a deal: Two hours of quiet, and I'll avoid doing anything that might end in a statewide manhunt."
So if you have a friend or family member with a newborn and you wonder how they're doing, you can either ask them or just see which hand they use to hold the baby. No, really.
How It Works
Dig up some of your baby pictures. Which arm did your mom use to cradle you? Hell, just imagine holding a baby right now -- which arm would you employ? Chances are you'd use the left one. The vast majority of people do, regardless of their dominant hand. It's just one of those weird little bodily hiccups nearly all humans share.
"Every day, you teach me so many new things ..."
In fact, it's so widespread that when scientists realized that not everyone was doing this, they started digging in ... up until they actually identified it as a potential way to tell if the mother was suffering from depression. Stressed out and depressed mothers actually cradle their babies in their right arm a lot more often than healthy, happy moms. More than twice as often, in fact -- the ratio is 14 percent right-hand bias of the healthy mothers, compared to 32 percent of the depressed ones.
"... mostly, how to hate."
As for why, the scientists couldn't offer a guess. We're going to speculate that gestures made by stressed or annoyed people, such as the finger or that sarcastic "jerking off" motion, are more easily made with the left hand, so they instinctively need to keep it free. Prove us wrong, science.
If He Looks Like a Bully, He's Probably a Team Player
Last time, we pointed out that people with wide cheekbones tend to be less trustworthy. That sounds like some unfair stereotype, but it's just a matter of body chemistry -- more testosterone equals a bigger face. And how much testosterone you have goes a long way toward determining your personality type.
"I'd trade these sick guns for free will any day of the week."
Likewise, the classic image of a beer-guzzling, wedgie-giving jock is pretty much carved in stone: a big, wide-faced dude with a toothy grin and rugged features. Faces like that are familiar from a thousand movies and a million school grounds. They are the guys with the varsity jackets, beer bongs, and stupid bro lingo, banging every chick in school while making you feel like the loser you'd have to wait for years to realize you never actually were. But in certain circumstances, that bully-faced guy is actually guaranteed to be nicer than everyone else ... as long as he perceives he's on your team.
"I WOULD DIE FOR YOU!"
How It Works
Those guys don't do what they do because they're mindlessly cruel; they do it because they're competitive.
To study this, researchers made male volunteers play a game in groups. Some of the groups were told that their scores would be compared to a rival school, while other groups were just playing for the hell of it. Surprisingly enough, men with classic bully faces were a lot more likely to risk their personal assets for the benefit of their group's overall results ... but only when they were told they were up against a rival school. They were willing to be altruistic as long as they thought it would help them win.
"I think I can stab two of 'em. They'll arrest me, but we'll still wind up ahead."
Other studies seem to support this. As long as there's a competitive situation of any kind going on, Jock Face Guy has a tendency to be more productive, driven, co-operative, and -- above all -- willing to sacrifice his own well-being for the benefit of the group he views as his own. This applies in even the highest walks of life, by the way -- from CEOs to presidential candidates, that stupid, rugged, wide jock face gives away these men's drive for achievement, and the time and dedication they pour into their close groups of friends and colleagues. All because of how much testosterone they were exposed to in the womb.
"I take estrogen pills, because I refuse to sit through any Little League games."
If it depresses you to think that so much of people's personal destinies are written before their birth, well, we have more bad news ...
People With Symmetrical Faces Tend to Be Rich and Asymmetrical Faces Tend to Be Leaders
As science is fond of reminding us, symmetrical faces are to heads what sculpted abs and perfect boobs are to torsos. They're the ultimate in beauty, leaving us asymmetrical slobs (meaning pretty much everyone) to tread yellow water at the ugly end of the pool.
And of course it gets even worse: Not content with just looking better than the vast, asymmetrical majority, you now know that the next time you see a Symmetrical (screw it, we're just going to call them that from now on), they're also probably richer than you.
"I could buy and sell your puny town a hundred times over!"
On the other hand, the weird-looking dude you run into is the one you want leading you into war -- his leadership skills tend to be better.
How It Works
While a good gene pool certainly helps, throwing boxcars in the genetic crapshoot is only the beginning of the road to facial symmetry. The really important part comes in the form of your conditions of development. When everything -- including tobacco smoke, childhood nutrition, socioeconomic status, and illnesses -- can shape the way your face looks for the worse, your best bet for a mug that doesn't break mirrors is plain and simple: wealthy parents.
"Here you go, kid -- easy mode!"
Don't blame us, we've got the research to back it up: People with symmetrical faces generally have privileged childhoods, and therefore stand a greater chance of being wealthy themselves. Yes, even without going under the knife, the easiest road to beauty remains a well-endowed bank account.
But let's say they grew up underprivileged and end up with one of those plain, ordinary asymmetrical mugs. They have neither trust funds nor a perfect smile to rely on -- it's their guts and personality that matter now. What's more, just because they're not as pretty as those Symmetrical dicks, people expect them to do worse in life.
That, incidentally, is what makes them the most effective leaders there are.
"I've seen some shit. And now I mean to run it."
Yep, the never-ending stream of tiny struggles that a symmetrically featured person will never face thanks to his angelic looks and padded wallet is custom made to turn a person's asymmetrical melon into a bona fide, super-effective leader, scientifically giving him an easy 20 percent edge as opposed to groups under Symmetrical leadership. Of course, having an asymmetrical face doesn't mean that somebody is automatically a Winston Churchill. It just means that they have the tools to become one. So the dude at the bar with the burns down one side of his face -- don't immediately put him in charge of your multinational corporation.
XJ and his asymmetrical face talk about writing on his blog, and you can follow him on Twitter and ask about that time at band camp.
For more help in understanding humans, check out 5 Douchebag Behaviors Explained by Science and 6 Misleading Assumptions You Make About Quiet People.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 4 People Who Blew Their One Moment in the Spotlight.
And stop by LinkSTORM to discover why you shouldn't wear that studded belt.
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