If you have a LinkedIn or a Facebook profile, you would have most likely heard that you should use a professional personal photograph for your profile picture. I took this advice seriously enough to employ one of my professional photographer Friends to take my Facebook and LinkedIn profile picture for me. Despite the adage not to judge a book by its cover, facial cues often guide first impressions, and these first impressions guide our decisions.
The theory that lends support to this advice is called the “attractiveness bias tendency.” Person perception studies have revealed that there exists a tendency for people to prescribe more positive traits to an attractive person, compared to unattractive, persons. A beautiful image of a man or woman will conjure a form of socially desirable stereotyping.
IN A 1972 LANDMARK STUDY showed participants photographs of attractive and unattractive individuals and asked them to rate these people on a series of personality traits. They found that attractive individuals are perceived as more sensitive, kind, sociable, engaging, outgoing, energetic, poised, and exciting than less attractive people.
With knowledge comes responsibility
In my website mock-ups, I will always consider the rendering of images. While not wanting to perpetuate gender myths, digital design is a form of visual communication. In my mock-ups, until I have been supplied photography I will use stock photography as placeholder images. I use photographs of attractive men and women as well as beautiful places, things, and objects.
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