Cues to Personality and Health in the Facial Appearance of Chimpanzees
Robin S S Kramer & Robert Ward
Humans (Homo sapiens) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) can extract socially-relevant information from the static, non-expressive faces of conspecifics. In humans, the face is a valid signal of both personality and health. Recent evidence shows that, like humans, chimpanzee faces also contain personality information, and that humans can accurately judge aspects of chimpanzee personality relating to extraversion from the face alone (Kramer, King, and Ward, 2011). These findings suggest the hypothesis that humans and chimpanzees share a system of personality and facial morphology for signaling socially-relevant traits from the face. We sought to test this hypothesis using a new group of chimpanzees. In two studies, we found that chimpanzee faces contained health information, as well as information of characteristics relating to extraversion, emotional stability, and agreeableness, using average judgments from pairs of individual photographs. In a third study, information relating to extraversion and health was also present in composite images of individual chimpanzees. We therefore replicate and extend previous findings using a new group of chimpanzees and demonstrate two methods for minimizing the variability associated with individual photographs. Our findings support the hypothesis that chimpanzees and humans share a personality signaling system.