We often notice that the villains of movies have a distinctive feature , and it is usually a scar on the face, although there are also skin problems, or hair loss, or abnormalities crano-facial , sometimes resulting from illness. Where does this phenomenon come from, and why is it so deeply rooted in the history of cinema ? We explain it all to you.
Villains from movies with scars
Hollywood villains are much more likely to have what scientists call "facial abnormalities " (scars, skin problems, deformities, headache ...) than heroes . It 's only to do with Freddy Krueger or Scar , but also with Darth Vader , or with The Joker . There is no shortage of examples ...
Why should an atypical physique have influence on moral attitude ? CoHow was this reasoning born? An in-depth study has been carried out on the subject .
The reasons for the scars of the wicked
Are people with imperfect faces considered to have imperfect moral characters? This is the question posed by a research group that published the results of their study in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences .
As you will be able to read in detail below, the scientists started from a starting hypothesis, which was that everything played out at the level of the amygdala . The latter allhave, according to them, demonstrate that it sends a specific neural response to abnormal faces. And indeed, the results recorded are obvious. Behaviorally, people with faces different from the norm received, on average, fewer interactions from participants of higher socioeconomic status. The study also found that people with unusual faces receive less empathy from others. On average, people expect people with faces considered "attractive " to have a more positive character than those with a face considered "abnormal ".
Scientists evoke for this the stereotype of "beauty is good . A person's moral character can therefore be partly determined by his or her beauty, unconsciously, for many humans. Likewise, facial abnormalities can be a sign of poor health, even when unrelated to disease, for participants in the experiment. How did scientists determine that abnormal = bad bias was relatively present in our collective minds ? It took a long process to understand it.
The scientific process carried out
First of all, the scientists carried out a first survey online to characterize the attitudes that participants had towards people with facial abnormalities. In a second study , the scientists then probed the neural responsesfacing faces deemed "abnormal , then facing those that fell more within the established norm. Several face types were thus presented to the participants , and you can discover three of them below:
According to the results obtained by this experiment, people with facial abnormalities were found to be less trustworthy, less attractive, more frustrated, and more anxious than people with beautiful faces , or with average looking faces. The evaluators were also less happy, en average, looking at faces with anomalies .
Conclusion of the experiment
This study confirmed previous reports, according to which people with abnormal faces are considered to have characteristics negative personality . For many participants, and often unconsciously, abnormal = bad .
Scientists believe that this dehumanization of subjects with anomalies is due to social cognitive biases , emotional dispositions (affective empathy for example), and several cunwanted behavior. All of this would be linked, as scientists initially thought, to the functioning of the left amygdala , which indeed sends a specific neuronal response depending on the face that is presented to the participant. Understanding how this stereotype works is essential to inform interventions aimed at educating the public about the social burden carried by people considered to be "different .
So, those Hollywood villains?
Almost unconsciously, and for many participants , people with facial markings or abnormalities are much less worthy of conscience than people who are deemed "beautiful " and flawless. Hollywood creators realized this without carrying out any precise studies on the subject, and we marked with a scar , of courseOften, characters to be wary of . This is the easiest facial abnormality to achieve with makeup. Other variants have obviously emerged , especially concerning warts and other skin problems.
Next time you see Scar on the screen, tell yourself that if you don't 'not like it from the start, it ' s probably because of your left tonsil e. Also know that, since 2018, the British Film Institute has taken the decision of no longer finance films with bad guys who wear scars . This choice was made precisely in order to fight against discrimination against people who wear scars .