Our faces reveal whether we're rich or poor

Put on a happy face, your success may depend on it, suggests a study by psychology researchers at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Arts and Science.

In a new twist on first impressions, the study found people can reliably tell if someone is richer or poorer than average just by looking at a "neutral" face, without any expression.

People also use those impressions in biased ways, such as judging the rich faces more likely than the poor ones to be hired for a job, says the paper by Associate Professor Nicholas Rule and PhD candidate Thora Bjornsdottir in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

"It indicates that something as subtle as the signals in your face about your social class can actually then perpetuate it," says Bjornsdottir. "Those first impressions can become a sort of self-fulfilling prophesy. It's going to influence your interactions, and the opportunities you have."

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