First impressions: Gait cues drive reliable trait judgements
Personality trait attribution can underpin important social decisions and yet requires little effort; even a brief exposure to a photograph can generate lasting impressions. Body movement is a channel readily available to observers and allows judgements to be made when facial and body appearances are less visible; e.g., from great distances. Across three studies, we assessed the reliability of trait judgements of point-light walkers and identified motion-related visual cues driving observers' judgements. The findings confirm that observers make reliable, albeit inaccurate, trait judgements, and these were linked to a small number of motion components derived from a Principal Component Analysis of the motion data. Parametric manipulation of the motion components linearly affected trait ratings, providing strong evidence that the visual cues captured by these components drive observers' trait judgements. Subsequent analyses suggest that reliability of trait ratings was driven by impressions of emotion, attractiveness and masculinity. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.