Is Shape of CEO's Face a Measure of Power?

Width-height ratio has a bearing on company's performance, researchers claim

MONDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The width of a CEO's face may predict how well a company performs, according to a new study.

Researchers compared the photos of 55 male CEOs of Fortune 500 organizations with their companies' financial performance. The study included only men because previous research found that a link between face shape and behavior applies only to men.

The firms of CEOs with wider faces, relative to face height, performed much better than businesses led by CEOs with narrower faces, said Elaine M. Wong, of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and colleagues.

The study will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science.

Previous studies have shown that the ratio of face width to height is associated with aggression, the researchers noted. For example, hockey players with wider faces serve more penalties for fighting and men with wider faces are regarded as less trustworthy and they feel more powerful.

"Most of these are seen as negative things, but power can have some positive effects," Wong said in a journal news release.

She explained that people who feel powerful are better at staying on task and tend to look at the big picture instead of focusing on small details.

More information

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Robert Preidt SOURCE: Psychological Science, news release, Aug. 25, 2011

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