Wednesday, 31 January 2018
Appearances may Not be deceptive - a new mini-book from Ed Dutton
Notice of a new e-book published by Edward Dutton, with whom I wrote The Genius Famine.
How to judge people by what they look like. 86 pages, available on Kindle for five pounds Sterling.
This is my Foreword:
Appearances are not always deceptive. Indeed, quite the opposite! In this highly informative and entertaining mini-book, Dr Dutton surveys the psychological data in support of the neglected idea that we can tell a lot about someone from how they look.
The fact that most people believe that they can judge a stranger by the face and body makes it plausible that we really can do this – if not with total accuracy, then at least to a useful degree.
It is a question of probabilities. So long as we are better than random at predicting traits such as personality, intelligence or aggression; overall this would have a positive impact on reproductive success. As social mammals, this attribute would have been very helpful, and sometimes vital, during our evolutionary history.
Dr Dutton’s book is a necessary corrective to misleading modern myths and taboos about ‘judgmentalism’ and stereotyping. As he makes clear; so long as we are prepared to modify our first impressions in the light of further evidence; it is reasonable and sensible to take seriously our innate ability to sum-up a stranger with a glance.