Celebrity chefs put their left cheek forward: Cover image orientation in celebrity cookbooks Academic Article uri icon


  • Portrait pose orientations influence perception: the left cheek is more emotionally expressive; females' right cheeks appear more attractive. Posing biases are established in paintings, photographs, and advertisements, however, book covers have not previously been examined. This paper assesses cover image orientation in a book genre that frequently features a cover portrait: the celebrity cookbook. If marketers intuitively choose to enhance chefs' emotional expressivity, left cheek poses should predominate; if attractiveness is more important, right cheek poses will be more frequent for females, with a left or no cheek bias for males. Celebrity cookbook covers (N = 493) were sourced online; identity, portrait orientation, photo type, and sex were coded. For celebrity cookbooks, left cheek covers (39.6%) were more frequent than right cheek (31.6%) or midline covers (28.8%); sex did not predict pose orientation. An interaction between photo type and sex bordered on significance: photo type did not influence females' pose orientation; for males, the left cheek bias present for head and torso images was absent for full body and head only photos. Overall, the left cheek bias for celebrity cookbook covers implies that marketers intuitively select images that make the chefs appear happier and/or more emotionally expressive, enhancing engagement with the audience.

publication date

  • 2017