It has been said that you can't judge a book by its cover. But can people judge you by your outward physical appearance? A study was recently done to try to answer this question.

It has been said that you can't judge a book by its cover. But can people judge you by your outward physical appearance?


A study was recently done to try to answer this question.


The individuals who took part in the study were presented a variety of photographs of people with different poses and expressions. They included a natural pose (a normal facial expression), smiling, staring into the camera, standing with their hands at their sides, arms folded, a wide stance, etc.


After observing the photographs, the participants were asked to assess certain personality traits they thought the person in the photograph possessed. The personality traits included likability, self-esteem, openness, emotional stability, outgoingness, agreeableness and loneliness.


Results of the study showed that a person's physical appearance does play an important role in how others judge their personalities.


A new finding from this study was that when a full-body photograph was viewed and the person's face was not seen, an accurate judgment could be made concerning if a person was extroverted, emotionally stable and had self-esteem.


These conclusions were made by noting how individuals held their arms, if their stance was relaxed, how far their feet were apart and, when standing, whether they appear more energetic than tired.


What we learn from this study is something we already knew: People do judge us by our physical appearance. But they just don't judge if a person is attractive or unattractive, they also judge an individual's personality.


People don't have any control over being born attractive or unattractive. But they do have control over what they do with what they were born with.


Most people care, at least to a certain extent, what others think about them.


So, if you are interested in others judging you in a more positive way, according to this study, there are ways to improve your image.


Smile and relax more, be neater and more stylish, look energetic, and have a good posture. Your mother was right when she continually reminded you to stand up straight.


But remember, although your physical appearance is important, the type of person you are is even more important.


Massachusetts-based Dr. Murray Feingold is the physician in chief of the National Birth Defects Center, medical editor of WBZ-TV and WBZ radio, and president of the Genesis Fund. The Genesis Fund is a nonprofit organization that funds the care of children born with birth defects, mental retardation and genetic diseases.