‘You Look Sick’: Humans Can Tell If Someone Is Ill From Facial Clues
Paleness, sweating and drooping around the eyes can be tell-tale signs if someone is sick. A new study finds that people can pick up on those subtle clues.
The Washington Post:
These Subtle Cues Are What Make Sick People Look Sick
The next time a friend tells you that you look sick, hear the person out. We are better than chance at detecting illness in others simply by looking at their faces, according to new research led by a Swedish psychologist. “We can detect subtle cues related to the skin, eyes and mouth,” said John Axelsson of the Karolinska Institute, who co-wrote the study published Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. “And we judge people as sick by those cues.” (Guarino, 1/2)
Humans May Be Able To Pick Out Sick People Just By Looking At Their Faces
But the judgements were far from perfect — 30 percent of photos of healthy people were deemed sick. The findings matter because past studies have shown that people might avoid others who appear to be sick. “How we perceive other people’s faces is really, really important,” John Axelsson, a neuroscientist at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and the study’s lead author, told STAT. “People who are attractive always get favored. People who are sick are being stigmatized in a sense.” (Blau, 1/2)