RESEARCHERS at the University of York have discovered that people make snap judgements based on your facial features.

Psychologists at the university have discovered that eyes are judged as an instant indicator of youthful attractiveness, while being tanned is linked to masculinity.

The research team say the findings show that people should be careful in choosing which photos of themselves to show to others, as it could "make or break" peoples first impressions.

According to Dr Tom Hartley who led the research at the university's psychology department with Prof Andy Young, you can accurately predict first impressions that people will have of someone based on the characteristics of the judged person’s face.

They also found that when we look at a picture of a face we rapidly form judgements about a person’s character, for example whether they are friendly, trustworthy or competent.

To investigate the basis for these judgements the research team took ordinary photographs from the web and analyzed physical features of the faces to develop a model that could accurately predict first impressions.

Dr Hartley said: “In everyday life I am not conscious of the way faces and pictures of faces are influencing the way I interact with people. Whether in “real life” or online; it feels as if a person’s character is something I can just sense. Our results show how heavily these impressions are influenced by visual features of the face - it’s quite an eye opener!”

The study, in published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS). Richard Vernon, a PhD student who was part of the research team, said: “Showing that even supposedly arbitrary features in a face can influence people's perceptions suggests that careful choice of a photo could make or break others’ first impressions of you.”