Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Heather Kleider-Offutt

Second Advisor

Sarah Barber

Third Advisor

Kevin Swartout


Studies show that both invariant and dynamic features of the face influence how we perceive and judge dominance. However, it’s suggested that dynamic expressions of the face are indicative of different types of dominance – beyond what has been classically defined in the literature. The present study aimed to investigate whether dominant faces that vary in emotional expression have strong category associations that could bias subsequent decision-making. In two studies examining face-type categorization and memory for face/occupation pairs, we found that dominant faces were more likely than non-dominant faces to be associated with positions of higher power. When memory was weak for face/occupation pairs, people relied on these strong associations between structural dominance and power to guide their (mis)categorizations into stereotype-consistent roles. Emotional expressions had little influence on categorization and memory. Results suggest an associative link between a dominant face-type and assumed power, generally, that biases decision-making when source memory fails.


File Upload Confirmation