Lady DianaPhysiognomy Diana
Physiognomy DianaPhysiognomy Diana
Physiognomy DianaPhysiognomy Diana

Facial reading, physiognomy or personology can be defined as the relationship between one’s physical features and one’s instinctive behaviour, personality, character, ability and potential, based upon our genetic blueprint and physical neurological cell proportion.

Dr Edward Vincent Jones, a Californian Superior Court Judge, rediscovered and developed this technique during the 1930’s. Having faced many hundreds of people during his many years on the bench he noticed a pattern between certain facial characteristics and behaviour. He started to compile a list of these physical traits and matched them to expected behavioural traits, eventually only accepting those that exhibited a 92%+ accuracy score. After many years his skill at judging character was legendary and he eventually began to give classes in what he termed, Personology. Dr Jones believed that the genetic influence from the parents at the time of conception was probably not equal, and that the offspring would more than likely exhibit more traits from the dominant or more constitutionally sound parent.

However the history of physiognomy actually goes back a lot further than this. Think Hippocrates, Pythagorus, Aristotle and Plato. Hippocrates used the principles of physiognomy to assist in his diagnosis by considering the possible emotional cause of his patients condition. Early Chinese and Indian history makes reference to face-reading, as do the writings of the Romans, the Arabs and the Jews (the Zohar in particular). Later again during the European Renaissance period one can refer to Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Sir Francis Bacon, Shakespeare, Raleigh and Descartes to name a few.

Dr Franz Joseph Gall, universally considered the ‘father of brain research’, was the first in recent times (1800) to publish scientific papers on the significance of cell proportion to instinctive human behavioural traits. However, a hundred years later Freud’s theories completely changed the way people viewed each other and at that point, the understanding of human nature pretty much became the sole realm of the professional analyst. Personology disappeared off the scene during the Second World War. Thereafter ‘behaviorism’ came to the fore, maintaining that people were merely products of their environment and conditioning.

However, during the 1950’s, followers of Jones’ original teachings, Robert and Elizabeth Whiteside (Personology Foundation of Los Angeles), decided to subject his data to scientific scrutiny and implemented statistical procedures over a period of ten years to validate Jones’ original findings. The accuracy astounded them. Jones’ information regarding the traits were accurate at least 99% of the time.

Of course the ‘whole’ person is never revealed in the face alone, and one has to think of this technique as a doorway into establishing rapport with someone, based on the type of traits one is likely to expect in that person, thereby leading to greater understanding and acceptance of that person as a unique individual. Always, though, in relation to one’s own, intrinsic, reactive functioning.

Kinesiologists use Personology to help identify and defuse blocked potential, to assist people in accepting and understanding their own (and others) essential, genetic nature, and to bring them to an awareness that they always have a choice in creating or maintaining the behavioural trait which either moves them towards, or away from, their goals. Genetically we may be predisposed to certain responses to/in life, but our belief system can also influence, change or suppress our true selves. However, over and above everything else, once we become conscious as to who we really are, we still have the freedom to CHOOSE to act or react, differently.

Our structure and our functioning is very much a part of our non-conscious awareness. We judge people all the time based on how they look. You meet a stranger and form an immediate opinion, based on your feelings prompted by that person’s facial features. But understand WHAT you are seeing and your accuracy will improve a great deal, and, furthermore, it will be based on knowledge rather than a conditioned belief system.

A great example of Personology in action is Hollywood – think ‘type-casting’! If you look the part, you’ll get it. How many actors repeatedly play either the ‘good guy’ or the ‘bad guy’ in film after film after film?!

There are six main trait areas being Thinking, Action, Feeling or Emotion, Automatic Expression, Physical and Current Outlook Trait. These are subdivided into approximately 50 behavioural traits each with unique physical identifiers.  A reasonable working knowledge of these traits can be extremely useful to everyone from human resource managers, therapists, and managers to teachers, parents and neighbours!


Look at your hands. The degree of hand co-ordination can be distinguished quite easily by looking at the length of the forefinger, middle and ring fingers. The more even their length, the better the hand and finger co-ordination is likely to be. People whose fingers have varied lengths have to concentrate harder on what they are doing so they would prefer pursuits that are more mental than practical.

An idea as to a person’s temperament can be gauged by looking at skin and hair texture. Coarse tempered individuals tend towards thick, coarse hair, rough skin, deeply lined faces, and are forceful or rugged in nature. They need to work outdoors in a physical environment and are often/commonly referred to as ‘being thick skinned'! People with fine hair and skin are more sensitive, reserved, discriminating and are generally more drawn to more ‘refined’ pursuits.

Consistency in a person can be seen by comparing the eye placement between left and right. The more uneven the eyes, the less consistent or conventional that person would be to someone whose eyes are quite level. This trait can also be seen in another way. No two sides of the face are exactly alike. Take a facial photograph of yourself and draw a vertical line down through the forehead to the chin. Compare both sides. The greater the difference between the two sides, the greater the possibility for disharmony. The more equal, the more consistent in your approach to life.

Thinking style can be seen in profile, by looking at the relative angle of the forehead. Someone with a slant-back forehead would be more results-focused and ‘bottom-line’ (big picture) than someone with a more vertical forehead, who is more process orientated and likes to think things through thoroughly before deciding anything (details) – taking it from the beginning through to the end. The guys that tend to act before they think (!) have a frontal crown lower than their parietal. The thinkers of the world are the reverse of this – higher frontal crown and a lower parietal area.

Eyes being a window into the soul, a lot can be seen there. People whose eyes are closer together (think Prince Charles) tend towards being less tolerant of mistakes (whether their own or others) than those whose eyes are wider apart (think Oprah). Make sure your accountant has eyes that are close together because these people are quite focused and specific to the tasks at hand!

Someone with a full lower lip can be expected to be generous, especially when coupled with large eyes. Someone with an extremely full upper lip loves to talk their feelings and emotions!

A basic knowledge in Personology has been found to be extremely useful in firstly, understanding ourselves. It also offers the opportunity for:

  • understanding dynamics in relationships,
  • understanding how people process life, information, emotions and feelings
  • understanding how and why people respond to situations in the way they do
  • understanding the way people are likely to act or react in given situations
  • offering career guidance and
  • improving communication between individuals

Face of Meg Ryan

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