11 Surprising Things That Your Physical Appearance Says About You

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Danielle Andrew 10/08/2016, 20:17
If you look "untrustworthy," you're more likely to be seen as a criminal.
It's unclear why some of us appear more trustworthy than others, but this quality may have life-changing consequences. Researchers from Israel and the UK had volunteers look at photos of men and women that had been randomly selected from two photo databases and rate the emotional state, personality traits, and criminal appearance of the people pictured. The first set of photos came from a police mugshot database; the second were controlled photos in which actors had been told to look happy, neutral, or angry. 
If you look "untrustworthy," you're more likely to be seen as a criminal.
US Government Photo 

Regardless of where the photos had come from, people who were rated less trustworthy and more dominant also tended to be seen as criminals. In the controlled photos, angry faces were seen as the most criminal.

 
How people perceive your face could be a life-and-death matter.

For a 2015 study, a pair of University of Toronto psychologists collected photos of real inmates who were, at the time, incarcerated by the Florida Department of Corrections after having been sentenced for first-degree murder. Roughly half were serving life sentences; the other half were awaiting execution.

Then the researchers had a group of participants look at the photos and rate the trustworthiness of the faces pictured on a scale from 1 (not at all trustworthy) to 8 (very trustworthy). Those who were rated as less trustworthy were more likely to be sentenced to death than those who looked more trustworthy.

In the second part of that study, participants looked at photos of people previously convicted of murder but subsequently exonerated, usually on the basis of DNA evidence. In a disturbing twist, people who were rated less trustworthy were still more likely to have been sentenced to death, even though they were later found not guilty. "Facial appearance affects real-world criminal sentencing independently of actual guilt," the researchers wrote in their paper.

 
Cognitive biases aside, how you look can sometimes indicate things about your health. Wrinkles, for example, can suggest heart problems.

Pruney skin can reveal more than just age — it may also tell us something about how our hearts are doing. A 2012 study compared the number of wrinkles on the faces and upper inner arms of a group of 261 people with long-lived parents to a random group of 253 people the same age. Women with the lowest risk of heart disease were described as looking more than two years younger than their age compared with those with the highest risk of heart disease.

 
Other underlying health issues may be seen first in the eyes.

Doctors can diagnose numerous conditions just from looking at your eyes. Red spots in the retina, the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye, can be a sign of diabetes. When blood-sugar levels get too high, this can block the blood vessels in the retina, causing them to swell and burst.

 
Your face might not tell the whole story. For men, finger length has been tied with cancer risk.

Scientists studied the finger lengths of 1,500 patients with prostate cancer and 3,000 healthy men over a period of 15 years by asking them to look at pictures of hands and choose one that resembled their own.

Men who said their index fingers were the same length or longer than their ring fingers were one-third as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer over the course of the study as men whose index fingers were relatively shorter, and the effect was even larger for men under the age of 60. Keep in mind that the study was based on the men's reported finger length, not actual measurements, so further studies are probably needed to confirm the findings.

 
And your height could reveal your risk of certain diseases.
And your height could reveal your risk of certain diseases.
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Studies suggest that taller people have a lower risk of heart disease, while shorter people may have lower rates of cancer. The effects are believed to do with the amount of growth hormone produced, which can protect against some diseases but increase the risk of others. The findings, however, do not necessarily mean that being tall or short will prevent you from getting either disease.

 

Tanya Lewis contributed reporting.

Read the original article on Tech Insider. Copyright 2016

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