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The Basel Face Database: A validated set of photographs reflecting systematic differences in Big Two and Big Five personality dimensions

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Walker Mirella, Schönborn Sandro, Greifeneder Rainer, Vetter Thomas,
Project Moral Character Matters. How Act, Actor, and Victim (Facial) Characteristics Impact Moral Judgments
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Plos One
Title of proceedings Plos One

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


Upon a first encounter, individuals spontaneously associate faces with certain personality dimensions. Such first impressions can strongly impact judgments and decisions and may prove highly consequential. Researchers investigating the impact of facial information often rely on (a) real photographs that have been selected to vary on the dimension of interest, (b) morphed photographs, or (c) computer-generated faces (avatars). All three approaches have distinct advantages. Here we present the Basel Face Database, which combines these advantages. In particular, the Basel Face Database consists of real photographs that are subtly, but systematically manipulated to show variations in the perception of the Big Two and the Big Five personality dimensions. To this end, the information specific to each psychological dimension is isolated and modeled in new photographs. Two studies serve as systematic validation of the Basel Face Database. The Basel Face Database opens a new pathway for researchers across psychological disciplines to investigate effects of perceived personality.