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Discover Morphopsychology: What Looks Can Tell Us About Personality

Have you ever noticed that there is a human tendency to try and make sense of someone by how they look? We sort of size people up when we meet them.

Morphopsychology is the analysis and study of the facial morphology, used for personality evaluations. The process by which the shape of one’s face interacts with the psychology is still a mystery, but I am sure that like everyone else, when meeting a new face, you had a strange intuition of knowing the nature of the person you met (Note that this intuition could prove to be right or wrong).

That is where morphopsychology started, and it started a long time ago because the first words we know about it are from Hippocrates. From experience, clinical observation, and statistical studies, a lot of skilled men started drawing the basic rules to propose a correspondence between face and personality.

Nowadays, the craft of morphopsychology is still a work in progress: it is not entirely clear yet how the different elements in the face interacts with each other and which part you are born with and which part you nurture through education and environment. However, the level of details is clearly sufficient to propose an overview of one’s personality.

When I started morphopsychology a few years ago, I immediately saw a pattern, and could relate it to close friends, family, or colleagues. Studying it deeper, the pattern became more precise, more consistent. I came to understand why some people function one way and why others don’t. Before I tended to think that if someone did not think like me, he was just ignorant. Now I see that it is much richer than that and it was a giant step for my self-development.

A common criticism about morphopsychology is: “so you think you know me just by looking at me?” That is evidently not true; it is impossible to say what kind of food you like or if you are a criminal. But I pretend to be able to detect a part of what your potential is.

For example, are you more logical or intuitive? Do you act spontaneously or do you rather take a step back? Are you more a team player or an independent player? It is also possible to give some clues about some other characteristics such as loyalty, ambition, decision-making, motivation, memory, concentration, interpersonal skills, etc.

A morphoanalysis aims at helping you find what areas you are good at, and where it costs you an extra effort. Ultimately though, you still decide what you want to do with this potential. If your portrait says that you may not be great at speaking in public, it does not mean that you cannot do it, but that you may have to work harder to gain attention and convince the crowd. There is a good chance that you have other qualities that if combined with this newly-learned competency will make you even better than a “natural speaker.”

Because everyone is good at something, morphopsychology is not a tool to discriminate or to rank people. We don’t mean to judge people, but rather to understand what makes their personality unique.

The applications of morphopsychology are numerous and especially consistent for a competency assessment, career orientation or during a personal development process. Every counseling or coaching activity could then benefit from it.

In the matter of recruitment, it could complement (but not replace) traditional hiring tools (can you imagine that a recruiter does not pick you for the job and justifies it by “your nose is too big”?). It can certainly validate some of the intuition an employer had during the interview, or confirm the personality traits required for the position. Also it proves to be of a great help with children.

The method itself consists of analyzing the bigger picture (overall shape of the face and the profile, firmness of the traits) and carefully getting into the details (study of the forehead, eyes, nose, cheeks, mouth, jaw, and chin). Each element being interrelated, it is impossible to isolate a part of the face and start deducing features of the personality.

Then we must pay attention to potential conflicts: Every individual is driven by multiple forces which do not necessarily go in one direction. To assess the efficiency of one’s personality, we look carefully to the overall balance of the morphology.

In any case, I strongly encourage everyone to look deeper into it, and perhaps to have a look on my website I would also love to make some quick portraits if people are interested. I just need some pictures, and details on how to take pictures can be found on my website.

Guest Post: Olivier Maillet is a HR professional during the day, and a passionate practitioner of Morphopsychology at night. She graduated from the “French Society of Morphopsychology” in 2005.

Discover Morphopsychology: What Looks Can Tell Us About Personality

Joe Wilner

Joe Wilner is a life coach, licensed clinical psychotherapist (LCP), and drummer from the band Yes You Are. He is also creator of You Have a Calling, a blog and online community helping people discover and pursue their life’s work and mission. Through deep and personalized coaching, he helps ambitious, creative, and spiritually minded individuals make a greater impact, grow as leaders, and design a soulful life they are inspired by.

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APA Reference
Wilner, J. (2012). Discover Morphopsychology: What Looks Can Tell Us About Personality. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 30 Apr 2012
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