Studies on the effects of eyeglasses on impression judgements are available, but past research has only focused on judgements of target persons who wear eyeglasses. Moreover, while some studies have focused on whether the participants’ eyeglasses were full-rimed or rimless, or whether the rim was thick or thin, little attention has been given to the influence of the
Keywords: Eyeglassesstereotypeenclothed cognitionshape and image
Previous studies have shown that the wearing of eyeglasses has both positive and negative
influences on wearers’ impressions of their facial image. Regarding the negative side, Leder, Forster, and
Gerger (2011) for example, found that eyeglasses made wearers less attractive. On the positive side,
Guéguen and Martin (2017) reported that passersby on the street agreed to be interviewed more often
when the interviewers wore eyeglassesin actual field settings. This was because of the perceived higher
conscientiousness of people wearing eyeglasses. Okamura and Ura (2017, in press) focused on the effect
of the shape of face and eyeglasses on the personality judgements of others. They proposed that many
personality items are influenced by eyeglass shape, especially in respect of warmth and competence traits.
These are regarded as important by the perspectives covered by the stereotype contents model (SCM;
Fiske, Cuddy, Glick, & Xu, 2002), and in the recognition of the universal dimensions of social cognition
(Fiske, Cuddy, & Glick, 2007; Cuddy, Fiske, & Glick, 2008).
These perspectives assert that social cognition is structured from two dimensions: warmth and
competence. The perspective dealing with the universal dimensions of social cognition emphasizes the
primacy of warmth judgments. That is, warmth is judged before competence, and judgements of warmth
carry more weight in affective and behavioral reactions (Fiske, Cuddy, & Glick, 2007). Here, Okamura
and Ura (2017, in press) report two findings. First, a face wearing round eyeglasses is perceived as being
warmer, whereas a face wearing square eyeglasses is perceived as being more competent. This result is
explained by the activation in a metaphor-consistent manner. In Japanese, the words “
competent but stubborn. These meanings are derived from metaphor. The effects of their activation in a
metaphor-consistent manner have been repetitively confirmed in embodied cognition research (see
Landau, Meier, & Keefer, 2010).
The second finding is that judgements of most personality traits are influenced by the shape of the
eyeglasses, and not by the shape of the face, whereas only the judgement of warmth is influenced by a
combination of these two components. These findings revealed the uniqueness of warmth trait, and
showed that it is consistent with the idea of the primacy of warmth judgments (Fiske, Cuddy, & Glick,
2007). In fact, Okamura and Ura (2017, in press) speculated on the result in terms of processing
sophistication, with warmth being considered a more important attribute than competence (e.g.,
Wojciszke & Abele, 2008), and warmth being more quickly recognized than competence (e.g., Ybarra,
Chan, & Park, 2001) when individuals evaluate others.
As the above studies indicate, reports on the effect of eyeglasses on impression judgements of
others are not uniform. For example, in seeking to understand how individuals evaluate themselves when
they imagine wearing eyeglasses, little in fact is known about their effect in terms of “enclothed
cognition” (Adam & Galinsky, 2012) concept. “Enclothed cognition” is used to describe the systematic
influence that wearing something has on the wearer’s psychological processes. The present study was
designed to investigate whether the shape of eyeglasses influences participants’ ratings of their own
personality traits when they imagine wearing them. By studying the embodied effects of the shape of
eyeglasses on self- evaluation, we may offer new insight into metaphor research. It was hypothesized that
round eyeglasses would make participants feel themselves to be warmer in personality terms, whereas
square eyeglasses would make them feel competent and stubborn in a metaphor-consistent manner.
Convenience sampling was used in this study. Participants were undergraduate university students
(10 men and 29 women), who participated in exchange for partial course credits. Each received a
questionnaire and was asked to complete it during a lecture. Participants were informed that they could
drop out of the study at any time during the survey and their informed consent was obtained before taking
part in the study.
2.2.Stimuli and Design
Two pictures of round and square eyeglasses (the independent variables), and a questionnaire on
personality traits (the dependent variables) were used. The traits were selected from Study 2 by Swami
and Barrett (2011) and Study 4 by Leder, Forster, and Gerger (2011). A one-way ANOVA (between-
participants design) was used to analyze the difference between the two conditions.
Participants were randomly divided into two conditions; round (
eyeglasses. First, the participants were asked to look at either style and for 30 seconds carefully imagine
wearing them. After that, they were asked to judge their own personality traits while they were imagining
themselves wearing the eyeglasses. This evaluation was structured in terms of 12 items (friendliness,
likability, warmth, cooperativeness, competence, intelligence, successfulness, trustworthiness,
stubbornness, diligence, uncompromisingness, and inflexibility). All items were rated on a 7-point Likert
scale ranging between 1 (
was randomized by presenting the materials in a block-wise manner.
We conducted an exploratory factor analysis using maximum likelihood estimation and promax
rotation on the 12 items used for the estimation of personality. According to our theoretical perspective,
the factor structure was assumed to consist of three dimensions (warmth, competence, stubbornness). The
results indicated that the factor structure has low fitness, CFI = .935, RMSEA = .103, AIC = 130.317, and
that one item, inflexibility, has high loading on two factors. We excluded the double loaded item and
conducted the exploratory factor analysis again on the remaining 11 items. The results showed that fitness
was improved, CFI = .974, RMSEA = .071, AIC = 96.463. The three dimensions revealed were
interpreted as meaning warmth (α = .77), competence (α = .87), and stubbornness (α = .71) respectively.
For each group, the mean values and standard errors are presented in Table
showed that wearing round eyeglasses made participants feel themselves as warmer people, and wearing
square eyeglasses made them feel more competent and stubborn.1
Our findings are consistent with previous studies showing that round eyeglasses are connected to a
perception of warmth trait, and that square eyeglasses are connected to a competence and stubbornness
trait in a metaphor-consistent manner. These results thus support our hypothesis. Also, the results suggest
that these connections are activated in self-evaluation by merely imagining wearing eyeglasses. However,
the results are apparently inconsistent with the theory that posits that embodying the clothing’s symbolic
meaning by wearing it is a critical factor in enclothed cognition. For example, it was reported that no
effect from attire was found when participants simply saw the clothing throughout the experiment (Adam
& Galinsky, 2012). From their results, Adam and Galinsky (2012) concluded that two independent factors
co-occurred in the process of enclothed cognition: the symbolic meaning of the clothes and the physical
experience of wearing them. However, imagining is virtual bodily movement and associated neurologic
activity without muscular movements (Tsukimoto, 2001, 2005). For example, Porro et al. (1996) found
that the same regions in the brain are co-activated in both actual bodily movements and imaginary
movements. And Okamura (2017) reported that the mere recollection of food, the same as an actual food
intake, reduces altruistic behavior. Thus, positing that recollection or imagination has the same effect as
actual behavior, we are able to validate that imagining wearing eyeglasses and actually-wearing them has
the same effect in embodying eyeglasses’ symbolic meaning, and the present data thus offer further
corroboration of the findings of enclothed cognition theory.
Two conclusions emerge from the findings of this study. One is that shape priming changes our
self-evaluation in a metaphor-consistent manner, and the other is that embodied effects occur even when
imagining the movements, which have implications on the general population. The uniqueness of this
paper lies in combining shape priming, which has not been researched, with embodied effects using
1It was possible that if participants wore eyeglasses ordinarily, and if the shape of their ordinary eyeglasses was the same as our stimulus eyeglasses, this would influence the trait judgement. Therefore, we asked participants whether they ordinarily wore eyeglasses. If yes, they were further asked whether their eyeglasses are round or square shaped. Based on the answer to these questions, we coded the match or mismatch between the shape of eyeglasses participants ordinarily wear, and the stimulus eyeglasses: match = + 1, mismatch = -1, wearing no eyeglasses ordinarily = 0. The results of ANCOVA, including the index of the match or mismatch as a covariate, indicated that the index did not influence personality judgements in any traits (warmth:
eyeglasses as experimental stimuli. The study is important in that it offers new insight into metaphor and
The study has some limitations that need to be addressed. The results are limited to a relatively
small number of samples (
might be necessary to enhance ecological validity in future studies. Do the same personality judgements
occur in people imagining wearing eyeglasses as when looking at their own face wearing them in a
mirror? Do the effects of personality judgements on those wearing eyeglasses change as people become
habituated to them? Answering these questions should boost research on enclothed cognition.
- Adam, H., & Galinsky, A. D. (2012). Enclothed cognition. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,
- 48, 918-925.
- Cuddy, A. J., Fiske, S. T., & Glick, P. (2008). Warmth and competence as universal dimensions of social perception: The stereotype content model and the BIAS map. Advances in experimental social psychology, 40, 61-149.
- Fiske, S. T., Cuddy, A. J., & Glick, P. (2007). Universal dimensions of social cognition: Warmth and competence. Trends in cognitive sciences, 11, 77-83.
- Fiske, S. T., Cuddy, A. J., Glick, P., & Xu, J. (2002). A model of (often mixed) stereotype content: Competence and warmth respectively follow from the perceived status and competition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,82, 878–902.
- Guéguen, N. & Martin, A. (2017). Effect of Interviewer’s Eyeglasses on Compliance with a Face-to-face Survey Request and Perception of the Interviewer. Field Methods, 29, 194-204.
- Landau, M. J., Meier, B. P., & Keefer, L. A. (2010). A metaphor-enriched social cognition. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 1045-1067.
- Leder, H., Forster, M., & Gerger, G. (2011). The glasses stereotype revisited: Effects of eyeglasses on perception, recognition, and impression of faces. Swiss Journal of Psychology, 70, 211–222.
- Okamura, Y. (2017). Mere recollection of food reduces altruistic behavior. Polish Psychological Bulletin, 48(2), 250-254.
- Okamura, Y. & Ura, M. (2017). Judgements of warmth and competence from facial impression caused by shapes of faces and eyeglasses. Proceedings of the 84th Japan Association of Applied Psychology, 71. (in Japanese).
- Okamura, Y. & Ura, M. (in press). Facial impression caused by shapes of faces and eyeglasses. Proceedings of the 5th Human and Social Sciences at the Common Conference.
- Porro, C. A., Francescato, M. P., Cettolo, V., Diamond, M. E., Baraldi, P., Zuiani, C., Bazzochi, M., & di Prampero, P. E. (1996). Primary motor and sensory cortex activation during motor performance and motor imagery: A functional magnetic resonance study. The Journal of Neuroscience, 16, 7688–7698.
- Swami, V. & Barrett, S. (2011). British men’s hair color preferences: An assessment of courtship solicitation and stimulus ratings. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 52, 595–600.
- Tsukimoto, H. (2001). Embodied AI: Symbol grounding through imagination. AAAI Fall Symposium on Anchoring Symbols to Sensor Data in Single and Multiple Robot Systems, 67-74.
- Tsukimoto, H. (2005). Embodied semantics. Journal of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science, 33, 31-40, (in Japanese).
- Wojciszke, B., & Abele, A. E. (2008). The primacy of communion over agency and its reversals in evaluations. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38, 1139–1147.
- Ybarra, O., Chan, E., & Park, D. (2001). Young and old adults’ concerns about morality and competence. Motivation & Emotion, 25, 85–100.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
About this article
29 November 2017
Print ISBN (optional)
Sociolinguistics, linguistics, family psychology, child psychology, developmental psychology
Cite this article as:
Okamura, Y., & Ura, M. (2017). The Effect Of The Shape Of Eyeglasses On Judgements Of Personality. In Z. Bekirogullari, M. Y. Minas, & R. X. Thambusamy (Eds.), Cognitive - Social, and Behavioural Sciences - icCSBs 2017, October, vol 32. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 111-116). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2017.11.11