Look into the mirror - what do you see? Yourself, of course. But what do you see about yourself? Who is that person, really? Do you really know yourself? And what about the people in your universe - your spouse, significant other, boss, employee, coworkers? How well do you know them? Can they be trusted? Or will they stab you in the back the first chance they get?
Eternal questions, these - dating back to the early days of human history. And other than swallowing a mind-reading pill, there's really been no way to answer such questions - not that people throughout history haven't tried.
Itay Rauch of Profiler1 (http://www.profiler1.com/) believes he's got those answers - and he wants to share them with the rest of the world. And no miracle pills are necessary, either. All he needs is for you to upload a photo to the world's first online Personology clinic; within hours, you'll get back a full personality profile that Rauch says is the next-best thing to being inside the head of the person in the photo.
Personology (http://personology.com/) is a technique - Rauch, among many others, would call it a science, while others have less charitable names for it - that analyzes the features of the human face to determine personality traits. The technique was developed over many years based on the observations of California judge Edward Vincent Jones, who began noticing a correlation between looks and personality traits among those who passed through his courtroom, to the extent that he had already guessed what defendants who appeared before him were being accused of, before hearing the charges.
Based on those observations, Jones developed a full range of facial features that correlated with personality traits and created the field of Personology. It's those techniques that the team managed by Rauch, along with company cofounders Shirley Aharon and Gideon Dror, use to analyze photos that are uploaded to the Profiler1 site.
Users who send in a photo - of themselves, or of anyone they want to have analyzed - receive a full personality analysis, with emphasis on traits related to interpersonal relations, how good of an employee the person in question would be, whether a nanny you're considering hiring can be trusted with your kids, etc.
"Many studies show Personology to be extremely accurate," Rauch says, dismissing accusations that Personology is a pseudoscience at best. "The correlation between facial features and personality traits has been determined by extensive studies, and subsequent field tests show an accuracy of over 90 percent in determining personality traits when using Personology techniques."
The techniques, he says, are used in a wide variety of settings, including law-enforcement and national-security agencies in various parts of the world, as well as by HR agencies, in jury selection, etc.
Profiler1's innovation is to bring this technique to the Web-surfing public - enabling users throughout the world to upload photos and receive an analysis within a few hours.
"Until now, you would have to go to a Personology counselor for a one-on-one consultation, costing upwards of $100 a session," Rauch says. "Because we do the work online, we're able to offer the service for a lot less: an average of $8 per session."
Photos are checked by a custom computer application, and the results are hand-checked by a highly qualified staff of psychologists and criminologists, all of them with MAs or PhDs. The average turnaround time for a photo analysis is several hours, and the result is e-mailed to you.
Profiler1's newly revamped Web site has links to dozens of articles and studies; it even has a handy graphic chart showing what part of the face corresponds to which personality traits. According to Rauch, the more "symmetrical" your face, the better adjusted you are. (Want to know if the person you're looking it is really as straight-laced as s/he seems, or is really a wild and crazy guy/gal? Check out their cheekbones!)
Profiler1 has sites in Hebrew and English, aiming for the Israel and US market. But the company has plans to expand to Europe and is setting up German, Spanish and French sites. The Israeli site has been up barely a month, Rauch says, but so far hundreds of people have uploaded photos, paying the NIS 29 to NIS 45 for an online analysis.
A Facebook application based on Profiler1's Personology analysis is due soon, he says, adding that the company also welcomes partnerships with Web sites and services where photos are important, such as dating sites, employment sites, etc.
Rauch can tick off stories of satisfied clients whom he says the technique has really helped: the single mother who had trouble finding a day-care worker for her young children; the young lady who managed to get out of a relationship with a man who eventually turned out to be a true lowlife. In fact, he says, four out of five customers tell him they are more than satisfied with the service.
"For those who don't believe," Rauch says, "I say give it a try. It only costs $8 to find out, and I am positive they will come away with a different perspective on Personology."