Judging people based on the appearance of their face

Georacer

Joined Nov 25, 2009
5,182
About my first remark: Here in Greece, only perpetrators of certain types of crimes are allowed to be depicted in the media. The rest are hidden with their faces blurred, as an attempt to prevent negative reactions from affected parties and general social feedback.

Now, I live in a district where the immigrants are much more than the natives. Of course their faces seem alien to me. Heck, I can't even tell between most of them. But crossing them in the street and thinking they could be criminals is just the wrong mind set. It lets you fall easily to hysteria and just about ruins your view of life and society.
Not everything is perfect, of course. I live in an area with high delinquency, so I have to be careful. But I choose not to be consumed by fear. My aspect is to be absolutely neutral to everybody, either his face is akin to your race or not. That way you can avoid being manipulated by the looks of things and judge people only by the facts that you have available to you.
I have my exceptions too, however. When I walk by the junkie spot of my district and I see someone underfed, stumbling, skin-to-bone, with weeks-dirty clothes and oily hair, I assume he is a junkie.
When I see a woman with 12cm heels, fishnet pantyhose, a long belt for a skirt and excessive makeup, I assume she 's a hooker.
But I know these are two categories of people I have nothing to be afraid of. It's everybody else I can't quite put into a group that I have to be afraid of.


Other than that: I read the article you posted, about the daycare station. Absolutely terrifying. It's things like that that makes me believe that we have grown much too populous in this planet. And I classify it in the same rank as the indifference of the by-passers in the recent incident with the hit and run in China. Phenomena of mass hysteria and alienation have taken over the population and are caused by overpopulation and dense urban environments.

P.S. I watched Gran Torino recently. I think it's quite relevant to the matter.
 
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GetDeviceInfo

Joined Jun 7, 2009
2,198
sight, visual recognition, is our most prized sense. To not relate a visual scene to an emotional response would be blind. The emotional responses can run the entire gamit, and is closely associated with our conditioning.

If one worked with drug addicts on the street, one might see hope in some of those images, compared to the desperation around them. If one worked at a modelling agency, they'd see failure.

The danger in not looking through the image is that people often develop undesirable traits in response to the prejudices placed upon them.
 

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
6,839
Creepy?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias
The one time you are right completely obscures the 99 times you were wrong.
Yes the person in that picture seems slightly creepy. I don't think I would fear that person if I saw them though. Who is it?

That was an eye opening wiki. It made me reflect on myself and I am very prone to confirmation bias. I always look for things that support my views and tend only to look at things that contradict my views when I am forced to. I guess I always knew that about myself but considered it rational. not so much now.

But there is a part of the confirmation bias that I'm still stuck on, as it applies to this specific discussion. the bias part. Where does the bias come from? If I see someone on a bus who makes me nervous, where does this nervousness come from? As far as I can see, it has to be human nature. While incredibly primal, we must be programmed to recognize a person (based on their appearance) as a threat. If I got to know the person, but continued to suspect that one day I would find out that they were a criminal, then that would be where the confirmation bias would come into play.
 

loosewire

Joined Apr 25, 2008
1,686
"Between most of them" would get you called bigot in U.S.,them as a certain
population. Over here a whole race can be "them" could get you mobbed or If
they had your name for newpaper,you would be branded bigot forever.Them
don't seem that bad of a word,but in the context of group of people or a mixed group
of people. I have my personal wall that people have to go to some effort to peek
over,if they have any interest,most see a blank and move on.On the the other hand
my radar has picked them up and working overtime to tell me information about them.
I have a big data base in my head for future and past information,I did not pick you
for moderator,but not surprised. My data base told me when I saw your name,
Georacer then out of order Bill's name showed up,a oops moment for the Admin's
which they corrected right away.Just another moment in E.S.P...remote viewing.
Guilded tours to area #51 for believer's.
 
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praondevou

Joined Jul 9, 2011
2,942
Yes the person in that picture seems slightly creepy. I don't think I would fear that person if I saw them though. Who is it?
Looks like David Bowie.

I'm mostly wrong in my judgements/first impressions... either way but mostly when I judged the person trustworthy.
 
While it may be true that unkempt, scowling, angry looking faces could be indicative of bad character, criminal records also abound with pleasant, "innocent" looking individuals who have in fact committed the most horrendous of crimes.

The infamous Ken and Barbie murderers were a preppy-looking young WASP couple that easily rated as comparatively attractive, and yet took delight in perpetrating some truly hideous felonies. Similarly, quite a few of the worlds most accomplished con-men and femme-fatale women are impeccably turned out, in superb physical shape and highly articulate, yet capable of ruining the lives of their marks without a second thought.

While it may be a prudent rule of thumb to follow one's gut insticts about the appearance of strangers encountered, it is well worth remembering that a good many truly evil men and women disarm their intended victims with a seemingly pleasant demeanor, an urbane dress sense and easy banter, right up till the "oh chit" moment when those claws come out.
 

maxpower097

Joined Feb 20, 2009
816
About my first remark: Here in Greece, only perpetrators of certain types of crimes are allowed to be depicted in the media. The rest are hidden with their faces blurred, as an attempt to prevent negative reactions from affected parties and general social feedback.
How nice, here where I live they have a weekly newspaper you can buy for $1 that has everyone who lives in your zip code thats been arrested in the past week. Photo's, charges, everything.
 

maxpower097

Joined Feb 20, 2009
816
How about this. I'm a guy in my mid 30's and for the past 20 years everyone just assumes I'm LEO. Its worked out to my advantage 100's of times. I never get searched going to big events, when I used to follow the dead I never got harrassed, I've been pulled over 4 times in 3 months and have yet to get a ticket. Actually in my life I've been pulled over about 20 times and have only gotten a out headlight ticket which is void if you fix it with in 2 weeks. So looks are a big factor for everyone whether they admit it or not.
 

Adjuster

Joined Dec 26, 2010
2,148
How about this. I'm a guy in my mid 30's and for the past 20 years everyone just assumes I'm LEO. Its worked out to my advantage 100's of times. I never get searched going to big events, when I used to follow the dead I never got harrassed, I've been pulled over 4 times in 3 months and have yet to get a ticket. Actually in my life I've been pulled over about 20 times and have only gotten a out headlight ticket which is void if you fix it with in 2 weeks. So looks are a big factor for everyone whether they admit it or not.
Oh, the age gap and the cultural gulf between our countries. What is LEO? an acronym for something? As for following the dead, the mind boggles. Something to do with hearses?
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
13,560
But there is a part of the confirmation bias that I'm still stuck on, as it applies to this specific discussion. the bias part. Where does the bias come from? If I see someone on a bus who makes me nervous, where does this nervousness come from? As far as I can see, it has to be human nature. While incredibly primal, we must be programmed to recognize a person (based on their appearance) as a threat. If I got to know the person, but continued to suspect that one day I would find out that they were a criminal, then that would be where the confirmation bias would come into play.
I think that the pattern matching part of the brain operates much quicker than the analytical part and that paranoia in a threat filled environment is a good survival strategy.
 

Adjuster

Joined Dec 26, 2010
2,148
A little caution may be in order here: it is also possible for such reactions to be dysfunctional, especially in certain mental illnesses or intoxications.

A somewhat less extreme case can result where an individual has unpleasant memories of a particular person/type of person. Particularly if these date from early in life, they may not be consciously remembered, but may lead to a prejudice against people of similar appearance. One can imagine a child abused by Uncle Harry, who had a beard, growing up to distrust older bearded men.
 

Adjuster

Joined Dec 26, 2010
2,148
After much head-scratching I had imagined LEO = DiCaprio. I had forgotten about The Grateful Dead.

"Following the dead" seemed very obscure. I had imagined it as a sort of Gothic hobby involving funeral processions.
 

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
6,839
In a somewhat related tangent, I beleive that not only humans posses this instinct. I have observed dogs demonstrate similar behavior. Growing up I had a dog that seemingly could tell a person's character. It would bark at some people and not others. It was confirmed several times that the people he barked at were of ill repute. If my dog didn't like a person, I stayed clear of that person.

touching on the point Adjuster made in post #34, my aunt also had a dog that was abused by an elderly man. That dog would yap it's head off any time an old man came over.
 

maxpower097

Joined Feb 20, 2009
816
Lol, fitting that he would be mistaken for a LEO in that situation
I was a god on shakedown street! We'd show up late to a show and I'd get out of are car and just move a big orange barrier out of the way so we could pull right up to the gates. Cops or staff wouldn't even flinch. Another trick I was a master at was getting into free shows. I had an old walkie talkie. I'd go up to about 10 ft from the gates the turn on the WT scratch it a few times the scurry hurried past the gate pointing at someone in the crowd. The ticket rippers wouldn't hesitate to move right out of the way and let me through. Mind you this was early 90's most of the crap I pulled wouldn't be doable now.
 

justtrying

Joined Mar 9, 2011
439
most people will make a judgement based on appearance, that is how we are wired (as was mentioned, the reptilian brain, fight or flight). But this should only be momentary and ideally not even enter conscious thought since experience should already have shown us that you cannot judge people in that way, it is too error-prone. That is unless prior experience had taught you to distrust someone, that usually happens in childhood. This is off-topic, but I personally do not like going downhill since I fell one too many times when I was little - bike, sled, and anything in between.

Check this video out - facial expression. I am including it because one of utube comments says that the poster was scared of the face at the beginning... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tx5jI0BH3_8
 
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