Five years ago, Ryan Bell wrote a post at Millennial Star considering which public figures look like Mormons, particularly Chief Justice John Roberts (“Mormon Face”). Now, researchers the University of Toronto and Tufts University have tackled the question “Can people pick out Mormons by looking at their faces?” (Thanks to Marginal Revolution for pointing out the article.)
From the abstract:
Although religious group membership is thought to be perceptually ambiguous, folk beliefs suggest that Mormons and non-Mormons can be categorized from their appearance. We tested whether Mormons could be distinguished from non-Mormons and investigated the basis for this effect to gain insight to how subtle perceptual cues can support complex social categorizations.
The final paragraph:
In conclusion, Mormons and non-Mormons subtly differ in their facial appearance and perceivers are able to perceive these differences in a way that allows for accurate categorization. The two groups are distinguished by differences in apparent health, which appears to be expressed in facial cues signaling skin quality. These data verify a longstanding folk belief among a highly cohesive minority religious group and provide insights to the incorporation of subtle perceptual cues to support higher-level social cognitions.