What are the facial differentiators of an investment banker? According to a recently published study in the journal, ‘Social Psychological and Personality Science,’ the average investment banker has a face that’s noted for being: ‘intelligent, confident, dominant, masculine, and aggressive’ – with characteristics appearing in that order.
The findings are the conclusion of a study by the Department of Psychology at York University in the UK. Thirty two undergraduate students were asked to look at a set of 250 male and 250 female faces and to suggest how stereotypical each face was with respect to a range of professions (investment bankers, nurses, teachers, and drug dealers).
Separately, the students were asked to rank how important particular facial characteristics were to the different professions, with the result that bankers were deemed to possess the intelligent, confident, dominant facial characteristics suggested above. Bankers were also expected to appear above averagely healthy. By comparison, teachers were expected to look: ‘intelligent, trustworthy, approachable, confident, healthy, dominant, vibrant, feminine, and old.’
Using the results of the two studies, the York psychologists were able to create pastiches of the expected faces for each profession. These are shown below. The derived faces in the top line are a composite of the 20 faces considered to look most like the respected profession. The assembled faces on the bottom line are averages of the 20 faces which scored most highly in terms of expected facial characteristics for each type of job.
The implication is that if you want to look like a stereotypical investment banker, you need to be an intelligent and confident healthy-looking man who’s not smiling too much. Not everyone fits this mould. Lloyd Blankfein has been known to smile broadly in photographs. Some bankers are even women.