How much can we tell about a person by how they look?

I tend to think that personality and intelligence manifest in looks. For example, you can see kindness and intelligence and grace in a person’s face.

So I ask:

Can looks alone reveal a lot about a person?

I asked this question on facebook.

Chris Tombrello posted a link to the largely discredited idea of physiognomy and wrote, “You are correct to a degree but many mistakes have been made over the years as researchers have attempted to build a science of recognition. Studies on the physical characteristics of felons, or studies of people who look bovine or dog-like tend towards the humorous or grotesque.”

One gal said that not all intelligent people are physically attractive.  I agree. I didn’t mean to imply that.

So let me revise my question, lest I sound sexist and superficial:

Can you tell a lot about a person by observing them walking and talking for a minute? Or by viewing a few candid photos?

Certainly, there are false judgments. Some people look dumb but are sharp. Others look suave and competent but are shallow or mean or psychopathic.

Still, oftentimes we are right. And isn’t there such a thing as love at first sight?  I  confess that the most significant relationships in my life were launched rather quickly — and worked out OK.

The following R-rated article at Huff Post illustrates how the same person can give a quite different impression based on their posture and facial expression.  It shows the sort of thing that photos can (apparently) reveal about a person:  Stunning Nude Photo Series Challenges What It Means To Be ‘Attractive’ (NSFW).  Attractiveness isn’t just symmetry and clear skin and desirable proportions and musculature. It’s also posture and confidence and vivacity.

I read, by the way, that people who you find attractive are likely to have compatible immune systems.  But presumably that’s not something you can find out from photos and video.

Dustin Hoffman gave a moving and sweet interview in which he regrets the way he used to judge women by their looks.  Unfortunately, it’s something that I think most men do way too much. See this article or this video:

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