g stockstudio/ShutterstockPortrayals of poverty and prosperity in popular media are pretty straightforward and exaggerated. This is what a poor person looks like. This is what a rich person looks like. This is what a rich person would look like if he were a duck.
But when it comes to everyday life, poverty may be a little bit less straightforward. People on perfectly sound financial ground shop at thrift shops. Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg is worth over 70 billion dollars and actively chooses to wear a grey T-shirt to work every single day. Everything is seemingly not cut and dry, or so it would seem. (But, if you want to be uber successful like Zuckerberg, it might be worth memorizing these winning attributes of wildly successful people right now.)
A new study from the University of Toronto, published in May in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, claims that finding out someone’s income is as easy as looking them square in the face.
The study gathered 81 Canadian undergraduates and had them look at 160 pictures of people’s faces between the ages of 18 and 35 from various different cities in the United States. The photos were of people without facial hair, piercings, or glasses, and were all edited to appear the same height. The undergraduates were informed to categorize the 160 people into two groups, rich or poor.
In the first round of the study in which participants were given unlimited time to guess, they were right 68 percent of the time. In the second round, the participants were given a very limited amount of time, forcing them to make split second decisions, and still were accurate a significant amount of the time, 52 percent.
“If only I had the chance to wear my monocle!” exclaimed one of the people improperly categorized as “poor,” probably.
(How, exactly, do rich people think? We found out what they aren’t telling you.)