Caroline (Carrie) Keating

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Caroline (Carrie) Keating

Professor of Psychology

Department/Office Information

Psychological and Brain Sciences
107C Olin Hall


Despite our very human way with words, much of what explains social influence, leadership, and charisma rests on the unspoken: the nonverbal expressions and behaviors, physical appearances, and underlying social motives of leaders and followers. We humans are both surprisingly unaware and exquisitely sensitive to their effects. I study these elusive aspects of power relationships between and among individuals, seeking patterns across species, cultures, and age groups. Together with colleagues and student researchers, I’ve found that humans convey dominance through facial expressions akin to those of other primates; that preschoolers and adults who are socially dominant excel at looking sincere when they tell a lie; that watching charismatic leaders generates unique, neural activity patterns in those who observe them, and that persuasive performances begin with kidding yourself. It's a start to a scientific understanding of how a single individual can wield great power over the thoughts and behavior of many, and how groups use charismatic processes to inspire devotion in followers.

Some of my studies have been featured in the print media in the US and abroad, on radio talk shows, and on television, including PBS's Scientific American Frontiers, Dateline NBC, Discovery Magazine, CNN, The McLaughlin Group, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Learning Channel, and ABC’s Good Morning America. As an interpreter of social-psychological phenomena, I’ve appeared on ABC’s 20-20 and What Would You Do? I give presentations and workshops on nonverbal communication and leadership to professional and civic organizations, and other groups; these have included engineers, museum docents, educators, and students.

I teach introductory and research methods courses in psychological science, and specialty seminars in leadership, social bonds, cross-cultural human development, and nonverbal communication.

Podcast on the elusive quality of charisma:

The other body politic: Candidate body language in the 2016 election (see video). 

AB (1974), PhD (1979), Syracuse University

Nonverbal and physiognomic elements of social dominance, influence, power, status, leadership and charisma; initiation and hazing; social-emotional development and social bonds from infancy to adulthood; cross-cultural human development.

* designates student co-author

  • Keating, C. F., Adjei Boateng, F.,* Loiacono, H.,* Sherwood, W.,* Atwater, K.,* & Hutchison, J.* (2020). Charismatic nonverbal displays by political leaders signal receptivity and formidability, and tap approach and avoidance motivational systems. Frontiers in Psychology. 11:526288.
  • Keating, C. F. (2016). The developmental arc of nonverbal communication: Capacity and consequence for human social bonds. In D. Matsumoto, H. C. Hwang, & M. G. Frank (Eds.), The American Psychological Association Handbook of Nonverbal Communication (pp. 103-138). Washington, DC: APA Pubs.
  • Keating, C. F. (2016). The life and times of nonverbal communication theory and research: Past, present, future. In D. Matsumoto, H. C. Hwang, & M. G. Frank (Eds.), The American Psychological Association Handbook of Nonverbal Communication (pp. 17-42). Washington, DC: APA Pubs.
  • Keating, C. F. (2011). Channeling charisma through face and body status cues. In D. Chadee & A. Kostic (Eds.), Social Psychological Dynamics (pp. 93-111). Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press.
  • Keating, C. F. (2006). How and why the silent self speaks volumes: Functional approaches to nonverbal impression management. In M. L. Patterson & V. L. Manusov (Eds.), Sage Handbook of Nonverbal Communication (pp. 321-340). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Keating, C. F., Pomerantz, J.,* Pommer, S. D.,* Ritt, S. J. H.,* Miller, L.,* & McCormick, J.* (2005). Going to college and unpacking hazing: A functional approach to decrypting initiation practices among undergraduates. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 9, 104-126.
  • Keating, C. F. (2002). Charismatic faces: Social status cues put face appeal in context. In G. Rhodes & L. A. Zebrowitz (Eds.), Advances in Visual Cognition, vol. I, Facial Attractiveness: Evolutionary, Cognitive, and Social Perspectives (pp. 153-192). Westport, CN: Ablex.
  • Ostrov, J. M.,* and Keating, C. F. (2004). Gender differences in preschool aggression during free play and structured interactions: An observational study. Social Development, 13, 255-277.
  • Keating, C. F., Randall, D. W.,* Kendrick, T.,* and Gutshall, K. A.* (2003). Do babyfaced adults receive more help? The (cross-cultural) case of the lost resume. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 27, 89-109.
  • Keating, C. F., and Doyle, J.* (2002). The faces of desirable mates and dates contain mixed social status cues. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 414-424.
  • Keating, C. F., Randall, D.,* & Kendrick, T.* (1999). Presidential physiognomies: Altered images, altered perceptions. Political Psychology, 20, 593-610.
  • Keating, C. F., & Heltman, K. R.* (1994). Dominance and deception in children and adults: Are leaders the best misleaders? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 20, 312-321.
  • Keating, C. F., & Keating, E. G. (1993). Monkeys and mug shots: The cues used by Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) to recognize a human face. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 107, 131-139.
  • Starek, J. E.,* & Keating, C. F. (1991). Self-deception and its relationship to success in competition. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 12, 145-155.
  • Susser, S. A.,* & Keating, C. F. (1990). Adult sex role orientation and perceptions of aggressive interactions between girls and boys. Sex Roles, 23, 147-155.
  • Dovidio, J. F., Ellyson, S. L., Keating, C. F., Heltman, K.,* & Brown, C. (1988). The effects of social power on visual displays of dominance between men and women. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 233-242.
  • Keating, C. F., and Bai, D. L.* (1986). Children's attributions of social dominance from facial cues. Child Development, 57, 1269-1276.
  • Keating, C. F. (1985). Gender and the physiognomy of dominance and attractiveness. Social Psychology Quarterly, 48, 61-70.
  • Keating, C. F. (1985). Human dominance signals: The primate in us. In S. L. Ellyson & J. F. Dovidio (Eds.), Power, Dominance, and Nonverbal Behavior (pp. 89-108). New York: Springer-Verlag.
  • Keating, C. F., & Keating, E. G. (1982). Visual scan patterns in monkeys viewing faces. Perception, 11, 211-219.
  • Keating, C. F., Mazur, A., & Segall, M. H. (1981). A cross-cultural exploration of physiognomic traits of dominance and happiness. Ethology and Sociobiology, 2, 41- 48.
  • Keating, C. F., Mazur, A., Segall, M. H., Cysneiros,  P. G., Divale, W. T., Kilbride, J. E., Komin, S., Leahy, P., Thurman, B., & Wirsing, R. (1981). Culture and the perception of social dominance from facial expression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 40, 615-626.
  • Keating, C. F. Charisma: What Really Rocks the Vote. PBSC Colloquium Series, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY. October 16, 2020.
  • Keating, C. F. Power Tools for Women: Building a Generation of Leaders. Colgate University Bicentennial Reunion, Friday May 31, 2019.
  • Keating, C. F. Style Meets Substance: Nonverbal Strategies for Enhancing Rapport, Influence, and Charisma. Glenstone Museum, Potomac MD. October 6, 2015
  • Keating, C. F. Style Meets Substance in the Classroom: Nonverbal Strategies for Enhancing Rapport and Learning in the Classroom. Teaching Institute Closing Plenary at the 27th Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, New York, NY, May 21, 2015.
  • Keating, C. F. Also Mightier than the Sword: The Body Language of Leadership and Power. Keynote address, Goolsby Distinguished Visiting Professor, Goolsby Leadership Institute, University of Texas at Arlington, November, 2013.
  • Keating, C. F. The Invention of Lying. Colgate Dallas Alumni Club, Dallas, TX, November, 2013.
  • Keating, C. F. See You Around Campus: Why People Help, Why They Don’t, and What to Do About It. Keynote Address for the Annual Meeting of Counseling Centers of New York, Hamilton, NY, June 6, 2013.
  • Keating, C. F. Crips and Cadets: The Psychology of Initiation. Invited presentation for the Black Psychology Student Association, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, April 9, 2009.
  • Keating, C. F. Discovery: Planet Earth 2011. Founder’s Day Convocation Keynote, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY, August 26, 2007.
  • Keating, C. F., Oberting, C. & Weiss, M. Gender and the effects of physiognomy and gesture on perceptions of social power. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences, October 2001, Charleston, South Carolina.

* indicates student co-author

  • Keating, C. F., Adjei Boateng, F.,* Rivera, L., Beshara, M.*, & Greene, R.* Your brain on charisma: Approach and Avoidance Register Evenly in Responses to Viewing Charismatic Leaders. Presented at the 31st Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Washington, D.C., May 2019.
  • Keating, C. F., Lyons, P. A.,* & Jarombek, P. M.* I Feel Pretty: Mating Motivation Triggers Self Deceptive Body Perceptions in Women. Presented at the 25th Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Washington, D.C., May 2013.
  • Keating, C. F., Little, B. C.,* & Colligan, M. E.* Leadership Emergence in Teenage Campers: Arriving Nicely, Departing Less Nice. Presented at the 24th Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Chicago, IL, May 2012.
  • Keating, C. F., Sandefer, K. N.,* & Porter, D. J.* Playing the Face Card: Physiognomy, Gesture, and Race in Politics. Presented at the 23rd Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Washington, D.C., May 2011.
  • Keating, C. F.,* Hershey, D. E.,* & Telvi, S. A.* Nonverbal Power Prescriptions for Female Politicians: Differential Diagnoses in Black and White. Presented at the 19th Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Washington, D.C., May 2007.
  • Goolsby Distinguished Visiting Professor, Goolsby Leadership, Institute, University of Texas at Arlington, November, 2013.
  • Visiting Scholar, Institute for Research on Women, Rutgers University, 2003-2004
  • Grant from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation 1985-86
  • Carter-Wallace Fellowship, Colgate University, 1982-1983.
  • East-West Center Professional Development Award 1975-76

B. C. Hansen (PI), D. Johnson, C. F. Keating, S. Kelly, MRI: Acquisition of an Electroencephalography
(EEG) System for Integrated Cognitive, Perceptual, and Social Neuroscience Research at Colgate University
, NSF instrumentation grant, awarded $199,307 (2013-2016)

Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation Grant. Project title: The Social Skills Related to Dominance
in Children. C. Keating, P.I., 1985-1986.