Find thousands of books, manuscripts, visual materials and unpublished archives from our collections, many of them with free online access.

Face value : the irresistible influence of first impressions / Alexander Todorov.

  • Todorov, Alexandre B.
  • Books

About this work


"We make up our minds about others after seeing their faces for a fraction of a second--and these snap judgments predict all kinds of important decisions. For example, politicians who simply look more competent are more likely to win elections. Yet the character judgments we make from faces are as inaccurate as they are irresistible; in most situations, we would guess more accurately if we ignored faces. So why do we put so much stock in these widely shared impressions? What is their purpose if they are completely unreliable? In this book, Alexander Todorov, one of the world's leading researchers on the subject, answers these questions as he tells the story of the modern science of first impressions. Drawing on psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, computer science, and other fields, this accessible and richly illustrated book describes cutting-edge research and puts it in the context of the history of efforts to read personality from faces. Todorov describes how we have evolved the ability to read basic social signals and momentary emotional states from faces, using a network of brain regions dedicated to the processing of faces. Yet contrary to the nineteenth-century pseudoscience of physiognomy and even some of today's psychologists, faces don't provide us a map to the personalities of others. Rather, the impressions we draw from faces reveal a map of our own biases and stereotypes. A fascinating scientific account of first impressions, Face Value explains why we pay so much attention to faces, why they lead us astray, and what our judgments actually tell us."--


Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press, [2017]

Physical description

327 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references (pages 271-309) and index.


Part 1. The appeal of physiognomy: Chapter 1. The physiognomists' promise ; Chapter 2. Single-glance impressions ; Chapter 3. Consequential impressions -- Part 2. Understanding first impressions: Chapter 4. The psychologist's trade ; Chapter 5. Making the invisible visible ; Chapter 6. The functions of impressions ; Chapter 7. The eye of the beholder -- Part 3. The (mis)accuracy of first impressions: Chapter 8. Misleading images ; Chapter 9. Suboptimal decisions ; Chapter 10. Evolutionary stories ; Chapter 11. Life leaves traces on our faces -- Part 4. The special status of faces: Chapter 12. Born to attend to faces ; Chapter 13. Face modules in the brain ; Chapter 14. Illusory face signals -- Epilogue: More evolutionary stories.


  • English

Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    PQZ /TOD
    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 9780691167497
  • 0691167494