Stereotypes and phenotypes

Scientists can now predict a person’s physical appearance just from the person’s DNA, with astonishing accuracy.

Related: Amazing

However, those same genes apparently predict nothing about one’s personality.

When I saw these two suspects’ faces on the news, in each case, I said, “He looks like the kind who’d do it.”

Michael Mosley was taken into custody Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019, after being charged with two counts of homicide and one count of attempted homicide.
Michael Mosley

Joshua David Edwards

Related: Joshua David Edwards Charged In Fatal Stabbing Of National Guardsman David Collins Outside Excape Nightclub
Related: Double fatal stabbing suspect Michael Mosley arrested in Cheatham County

But is there any basis for this — other than the influence of Hollywood?

A ton of research has been done of the following nature:  100 research subjects are shown the faces of 100 men, and asked to rate each one as more masculine or less masculine.

John Cena

Such research consistently finds strong consensus as to which faces are more masculine or less.  Then the same or other research subjects are asked to predict the personality traits of the man in each picture.  Here again, a strong consensus appears: men with more masculine faces are thought to be more likely to be fun in bed, but less likely to be good husbands and fathers.  They are also thought to be less likely to keep a job, and more likely to be violent and criminal.

Related: Musth

I am not aware of any research at all into whether these stereotypes reflect fact.

It would surely help if facial features would let us identify, at least, the worst of the worst, namely, psychopaths.  But in all the photos I’ve seen of such persons, there’s no commonality to their appearance at all.

John Lee Cowell looks harmless.

Later thoughts:

01/03/23 — William Shea McKay certainly had very masculine facial features, and met the very worst end consistent with the stereotypes:

A deputy killed, a wild pursuit. A deadly freeway gun battle. – Los Angeles Times (

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