Orthognathic Surgery Has a Significant Effect on Perceived Personality Traits and Emotional Expressions

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Abstract

Background:

The effects of orthognathic surgery go beyond objective cephalometric correction of facial and dental disproportion and malocclusion, respectively. The authors hypothesized that there is tangible improvement following surgery that alters publicly perceived personality traits and emotions.

Methods:

The authors used Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk), a crowdsourcing tool, to determine how preoperative and postoperative images of orthognathic surgery patients were perceived on six personality traits and six emotional expressions based on posteroanterior and lateral photographs. Blinded respondents provided demographic information and were randomly assigned to one of two sets of 20 photographs (10 subjects before and after surgery).

Results:

Data on 20 orthognathic surgery patients were collected from 476 individuals. The majority of participants were female (52.6 percent), 18 to 39 years old (67.9 percent), Caucasian (76.6 percent), had some college or technical training or graduated college (72.7 percent), and had an annual income between $20,000 and $99,999 (74.6 percent). A paired t test analysis found that subjects were perceived significantly more favorably after orthognathic surgery in 12 countenance categories: more dominant, trustworthy, friendly, intelligent, attractive, and happy; and also less threatening, angry, surprised, sad, afraid, and disgusted (p < 0.05). Raters with the highest annual income perceived a greater magnitude of dominance after surgery than those earning less (p < 0.001).

Conclusions:

There is significant improvement in the countenance of patients after orthognathic surgery, with both perceived personality traits and emotions deemed more favorable. Additional work is needed to better understand the physiologic underpinnings of such findings. Crowdsourcing technology offers a unique opportunity for surgeons to gather data regarding laypeople’s perceptions of surgical outcomes in areas such as orthognathic surgery.

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