Facial width-to-height ratio predicts achievement drive in US presidents

G.J. Lewis, C.E. Lefevre, Timothy Bates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) has been associated with aggression, unethical behavior, company profit, and dominance; however, it is currently unclear whether this facial trait relates to politically relevant character traits. Here we examine fWHR in an elite sample of political leaders, former US presidents (n = 29), who were rated for forcefulness, pacifism, inflexibility, and achievement drive; traits potentially linked to fWHR. The first three of these traits were unrelated to fWHR, but we found a positive association between fWHR and achievement drive (r = .58, p < .01), and a negative association to the trait “poise and polish” (r = −.38, p < .05). These results extend associations of behavior with facial structure to individuals in the highest echelons of power, suggest connections from biology to politically relevant character traits, and indicate that fWHR may also be associated with achievement-striving alongside associations with dominance and aggression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)855-857
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number7
Early online date29 Jan 2012
Publication statusPublished - May 2012

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Presidents


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