Personality across world regions predicts variability in the structure of face impressions
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Description: Research on face impressions has often focused on a fixed, universal architecture, treating regional variability as noise. Here, we demonstrated a crucial yet neglected role of cultural learning processes in forming face impressions. In Study 1, we found that variability in the structure of adult perceivers’ face impressions across 42 world regions (N = 287,178) could be explained by variability in the actual personality structure of people living in those regions. In Study 2, data from 232 world regions (N = 307,136) revealed that adult perceivers use the actual personality structure learned from their local environment to form lay beliefs about personality, and these beliefs in turn support the structure of perceivers’ face impressions. Together, these results suggest that people form face impressions on the basis of a conceptual understanding of personality structure that they have come to learn from their regional environment. The findings suggest a need for greater attention to the regional and cultural specificity of face impressions.