Help me Obi-Wan: the influence of facial dominance on perceptions of helpfulness

Shlomo Hareli, Michael Smoly, Ursula Hess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We all occasionally need the help of others whom we do not know well. In four studies, we studied the influence of the facial appearance of both the potential helper and the help seeker on such a decision. In three studies (1a-1c), across different help domains, participants rated a person with submissive facial appearance as more likely to help. This was mediated via the perception of the submissive person as caring and helpful. The notion that submissive individuals will be perceived as more likely to help when a dominant person asks was only supported in the context of financial help. The preference for a submissive potential helper was also found when participant had to choose a helper for themselves (Study 2). (120 words).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-176
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Influence
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Facial dominance
  • helping behavior
  • social perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Help me Obi-Wan: the influence of facial dominance on perceptions of helpfulness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this