Influence of the Stable Component of the External Appearance on the Perceived Age of a Person



The “perceived age” of a person is the age attributed to him by another person in the process of perceiving his appearance. The research is devoted to the study of the influence of a stable component of a person’s appearance (the main body characteristics — height, weight and body mass index) on the perceived age of a person. The study involved 94 people: 30 women (18—49 years old) who attend weight loss courses; 24 women and 12 men (20—51 years old) who do not attend special weight loss courses; 28 evaluators (ordinary people from 22 to 45 years old) who evaluate the age of the study participants based on photos. The obtained data were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney u-test, Wilcoxon T-test, and Spearman correlation analysis. Conclusions: 1) women who have taken weight loss courses look younger than they did before losing weight; 2) men and women who do not attend weight loss courses look younger or older than their years depending on their weight and body mass index (those who look younger have a lower weight and index); 3) the results of weight loss in women differ depending on their attitude to their appearance, social needs, and parameters of psychological well-being. The conducted research proves the influence of the parameters of a person’s physique on his perceived age, confirms the determinative role of self-assessment of appearance in the implementation of various practices for the transformation of ones appearance.

General Information

Keywords: appearance, perceived appearance, age, perceived age, self-assessment of appearance, perception of age, weight, body mass index, weight loss, sliming

Journal rubric: Social Psychology

Article type: scientific article


Funding. This study is conducted in the frameworks of research project № 17-18-01260 supported by Russian Science Foundation.

For citation: Vorontsova T.A. Influence of the Stable Component of the External Appearance on the Perceived Age of a Person. Eksperimental'naâ psihologiâ = Experimental Psychology (Russia), 2020. Vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 108–120. DOI: 10.17759/exppsy.2020130208. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Barabanshchikov V.A. Vospriyatie lichnostnykh osobennostey cheloveka po vyrazheniyu litsa [Perception of personal characteristics of a person by facial expression]. In Lyusina D.V., Ushakov D.V. (eds.) Sotsia’nyy i emotsionalnyy intellekt: Ot protsessov k izmereniyam [Social and emotional intelligence: from processes to measurements]. Moscow: Publ. “Institute of psychology of Russian Academy of Sciences”, 2009, pp. 40—59. (In Russ.).
  2. Barabanshchikov V.A., Besprozvannaya I.I., Ananyeva K.I. Otsenka individualnopsikhologicheskih svoystv cheloveka v zavisimosti ot konfiguratsionnykh izmeneniy ego litsa [Evaluation of individual psychological properties of a person in depending on the configuration changes of his face]. Rossiyskiy psikhologicheskiy zhurnal [Russian psychological journal], 2017. Vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 49—77. DOI: 10.21702/ rpj.2017.4.3 (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  3. Belopolskaya N.L., Vissarionova V.V., Shafirova E.M. Opredelenie khronologicheskogo vozrasta po litsu cheloveka [Estimating of Chronologic Age from Somebody’s Face]. In Barabanshchikov V.A., Demidov A.A., Diveev D.A. (eds.). Litso cheloveka kak sredstvo obshcheniya: Mezhdistsiplinarnyy podkhod [Human Face as a Means of Communication: an Interdisciplinary Approach]. Moscow: Publ. Cogito-centre, 2012, pp. 33—44. (In Russ.).
  4. Labunskaya V.A. Problema udovletvorennosti vneshnim oblikom: sub”ektnyi podkhod [Elektronnyi resurs] [The Problem of Satisfaction with Appearance: a Subjective Approach]. Kontsept. 2014. Sovremennye nauchnye issledovaniya [Concept. 2014. Modern Research Studies]. Issue 2. ART 55035. URL: (Accessed 12.10.2019). (In Russ.).
  5. Labunskaya V.A., Drozdova I.I. Teoretiko-empiricheskiy analiz vliyaniya sotsialnopsikhologicheskih faktorov na otsenki, samootsenki molodymi lyudmi vneshnego oblika [Theoretical and empirical analysis of the impact of social and psychological factors on the assessment, self-assessment of young people’s appearance]. Rossiyskiy psikhologicheskiy zhurnal [Russian psychological journal], 2017. Vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 202—226. DOI: 10.21702/rpj.2017.2.12 (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  6. Labunskaya V.A., Serikov G.V. Teoreticheskie osnovy i metodicheskie podkhody k izucheniyu fenomena «tsennost’ vneshnego oblika» [Theoretical foundations and methodological approaches to the study of the phenomenon “the value of appearance”]. Sotsial’naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo [Social psychology and society]. 2018. Vol. 9. No. 3. Pp. 91—103. DOI:10.17759/ sps. 2018090310 (In Russ.).
  7. Melekhin A.I., Sergienko E.A. Sub”ektivnyi vozrast kak prediktor zhiznedeyatel’nosti v pozdnikh vozrastakh [Subjective age as a predictor of life activity in later ages] [Electronic resource]. Sovremennaya zarubezhnaya psikhologiya [Modern foreign psychology]. 2015. Vol. 4. No. 3. Pp. 6—14. DOI: 10.17759/jmfp. 2015040301 (In Russ.).
  8. Meshcheryakov B.G., Gizatullin M.M. Otsenki attraktivnosti lits v usloviyakh affektivnogo praiminga [Evaluation of the attractiveness of faces in affective priming conditions]. In Barabanshchikov V.A., Demidov A.A., Diveev D.A. (eds.). Litso cheloveka kak sredstvo obshcheniya: Mezhdistsiplinarnyi podkhod [The human Face as a means of communication: an Interdisciplinary approach]. M.: Kogito-Center, 2012. Pp. 69—76 (In Russ.).
  9. Pogontseva D.V. Krasivaya zhenshchina: sotsial’no-demograficheskii analiz predstavlenii [A Beautiful Woman: Social-Demographic Analysis of the Notions]. Sotsial’naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo [Social psychology and society]. 2011, no. 1, pp. 73—82. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  10. Rukavishnikov A.A. Oprosnik mezhlichnostnykh otnoshenii [Questionnaire of interpersonal relations]. Moscow: Kogito-Center, 2006. (In Russ.).
  11. Shevelenkova T.D., Fesenko T.P. Psikhologicheskoe blagopoluchie lichnosti (obzor osnovnykh kontseptsii i metodika issledovaniya) [Psychological well-being of the individual (review of basic concepts and research methodology)]. Psikhologicheskaya diagnostika [Psychological diagnostics]. 2005. No. 3. Pp. 95—121. (In Russ.).
  12. Shkurko T.A. Rol’ tselostnogo oformleniya vneshnego oblika zhenshchin v konstruirovanii ikh vozrasta drugimi lyud’mi [The role of integral design of the appearance of women in the construction of their age by other people]. In Ermakov P.N., Labunskaya V.A., Serikov G.V (eds.). Vneshnii oblik v razlichnykh kontekstakh vzaimodeistviya: materialy Vserossiiskoi nauchnoi konferentsii [External appearance in various contexts of interaction: materials of the all-Russian scientific conference, October 28—30, 2019]. Moscow: Credo, 2019. Pp. 162—163. (In Russ.).
  13. Shkurko T.A., Nikolaeva Ye.G. Komponenty vneshnego oblika v strukture vospriyatiya vizualnykh prezentatsiy vozrasta [Components of appearance in the structure of perception of visual presentations of age]. Sotsialnaya psikhologiya i obshchestvo [Social psychology and society], 2015. Vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 78—90. DOI:10.17759/sps.2015060406 (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  14. Shkurko T.A., Serikov G.V. Vliyanie dinamicheskogo komponenta vneshnego oblika na vospriyatie vizualnykh prezentaciy vozrasta drugogo cheloveka [Influence of the dynamic component of the external appearance on the perception of another person visual age presentations]. Rossiyskiy psikhologicheskiy zhurnal [Russian psychological journal], 2017, no. 3, pp. 190—209. DOI: 10.21702/rpj.2017.3.10 (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  15. Ballard K., Elston M.A., Gabe J. Beyond the mask: Women’s experiences of public and private ageing during midlife and their use of age-resisting activities. Health, 2005. Vol. 9 (2), pp. 169—187. DOI: 10.1177/1363459305050584
  16. Bennett E.V., Clarke H.L., Kowalski K.C., Crocker P.R.E. “I’ll do anything to maintain my health”: How women aged 65—94 perceive, experience, and cope with their aging bodies. Body Image, 2017. Vol. 21, pp. 71—80. DOI: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2017.03.002
  17. Bulpitt C.J., Markowe H.L.J., Shipley M.J. Why do some people look older than they should? Postgraduate Medical Journal, 2001. Vol. 77 (911), pp. 578—581. DOI: 10.1136/pmj.77.911.578
  18. Chang B.L., Wilson A.J., Taglienti A.J., Chang C.S., Folsom N., Percec I. Patient perceived benefit in facial aesthetic procedures: FACE-Q as a tool to study botulinum toxin injection outcomes. Aesthetic Surgery Journal, 2016. Vol. 36, pp. 810—820. DOI: 10.1093/asj/sjv244
  19. Christensen K., Thinggaard M., McGue M., Rexbye H., Hjelmborg J.V.B., Aviv A., Gunn D., van der Ouderaa F., Vaupel J.W. Perceived age as clinically useful biomarker of ageing: Cohort study. BMJ (Online), 2009. Vol. 339, issue 7735, p. 1433. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.b5262
  20. Flament F., Pierre J., Delhommeau K., Adam A.S. How a working day-induced-tiredness may alter some facial signs in differently-aged Caucasian women. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2017. Vol. 39. DOI: 10.1111/ics.12398
  21. Guyuron B., Rowe D.J., Weinfeld A.B., Eshraghi Y., Fathi A., Iamphongsai S. Factors Contributing to the Facial Aging of Identical Twins. Plastic and reconstructive surgery, 2009. Vol. 123, pp. 1321—1331. DOI: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e31819c4d42
  22. Kotter-Grühn D., Hess T.M. So you think you look young? Matching older adults’ subjective ages with age estimations provided by younger, middle-aged, and older adults. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 2012. Vol. 36, pp. 468—475. DOI: 10.1177/0165025412454029
  23. Kwart D.G., Foulsham T., Kingstone A. Age and beauty are in the eye of the beholder. Perception, 2012. Vol. 41 (8), pp. 925—938.
  24. Ma-Kellams C., Wang M. C., Cardiel H. Attractiveness and relationship longevity: Beauty is not what it is cracked up to be. Personal relationships, 2017. Vol. 24, pp. 146 — 161. DOI: 10.1111/pere.12173
  25. Mayes A.E., Murray P.G., Gunn D.A., Tomlin C.C., Catt S.D., Wen Y.B., Zhou L.P., Wang H.Q., Catt M., Granger S.P. Ageing appearance in China: Biophysical profile of facial skin and its relationship to perceived age. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 2010. Vol. 24, pp. 341—348. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2009.03418.x
  26. Merinville E., Grennan G.Z., Gillbro J.M., Mathieu J., Mavon A. Influence of facial skin ageing characteristics on the perceived age in a Russian female population. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2015. Vol. 37, pp. 3—8. DOI: 10.1111/ics.12252
  27. Nkengne A., Bertin C., Stamatas G.N., Giron A., Rossi A., Issachar N., Fertil B. Influence of facial skin attributes on the perceived age of Caucasian women. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 2008. Vol. 22, issue 8, pp. 982—991. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2008.02698.x
  28. Olson K.L., Thaxton T.T., Emery C.F. Targeting body dissatisfaction among women with overweight or obesity: A proof-of-concept pilot study. International journal of eating disorders, 2018. Vol. 51, pp. 973—977. DOI: 10.1002/eat.22874
  29. Papoian V., Mardirossian V., Hess D.T., Spiegel J.H. Effects of Bariatric Surgery on Facial Features. Archives of plastic surgery, 2015. Vol. 42, pp. 567—571. DOI: 10.5999/aps.2015.42.5.567
  30. Porcheron A., Mauger E., Russell R. Aspects of Facial Contrast Decrease with Age and Are Cues for Age Perception. PLoS ONE, 2013. Vol. 8 (3), e57985. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057985
  31. Razmus M. Body appreciation and body-related pride in normal-weight and overweight/obese individuals: Does romantic relationship matter? Perspectives In Psychiatric Care, 2018. pp. 1—7. DOI: 10.1111/ppc.12343
  32. Rexbye H., Petersen I., Johansen M., Klitkou L., Jeune B., Christensen K. Influence of environmental factors on facial ageing. Age and Ageing, 2006. Vol. 35, pp. 110—115. DOI: 10.1093/ageing/afj031
  33. Robinson E., Sutin A.R., Daly M. Self-Perceived Overweight, Weight Loss Attempts, and Weight Gain: Evidence From Two Large, Longitudinal Cohorts. Health psychology, 2018. Vol. 37, pp. 940—947. DOI: 10.1037/hea0000659
  34. Russell R., Sweda J. R., Porcheron A., Mauger E. Sclera color changes with age and is a cue for perceiving age, health, and beauty. Psychology and Aging., 2014. Vol. 29 (3), pp. 626—635.
  35. Uotinen V., Rantanen T., Suutama T. Perceived age as a predictor of old age mortality: A 13-year prospective study. Age and Ageing, 2005. Vol. 34, issue 4, pp. 368—372
  36. Zimm A.J., Modabber M., Fernandes V., Karimi K., Adamson P.A. Objective assessment of perceived age reversal and improvement in attractiveness after aging face surgery. JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, 2013. Vol. 15 (6), pp. 405—410. DOI: 10.1001/jamafacial.2013.268

Information About the Authors

Tatyana A. Vorontsova, PhD in Psychology, Head of the Psychology Department, Associate Professor of the Department of Social Psychology of the Academy of Psychology and Pedagogy, Southern Federal University, lecturer of the special faculty of Psychocorrection, Depth Psychology and Psychoanalysis, Faculty of Psychology, Pedagogy and Defectology of the Don State Technical University and the Rostov Branch of the European Confederation of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. Member of the federal UMO in the system of higher education in enlarged groups of specialties and areas of training 37.00.00 Psychological sciences., Rostov-na-Donu, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



Total: 1104
Previous month: 21
Current month: 8


Total: 593
Previous month: 4
Current month: 0