Mood can bias the judgements people make about themselves and how people compare themselves to others. However, it is not yet clear whether mood also affects appearance-based self-evaluations and social comparisons. Given the importance of perceived health status for well-being, we investigated the effect of mood on self-image and social comparisons of healthiness during two versions of a face health judgement task. Thirty participants judged how they felt compared to healthy and unhealthy looking versions of their own (self version) and a stranger's face (stranger version), after a positive, negative and neutral mood induction. The effect of mood was dependent on self/stranger task order. Although mood did not affect face health judgement for participants who initially judged themselves against their own face, it did affect face health judgement for participants who initially judged themselves in comparison to a stranger's face. After the positive and negative mood inductions, these participants judged themselves as equivalent to healthier/unhealthier looking versions of their own and stranger's faces, respectively. Thus, social comparisons of facial healthiness could provide a perceptual measure of state well-being.
- Health perception
- Social comparisons