The aim of this study was to investigate whether a patient’s preference for a doctor’s face is associated with better assessments of relational empathy in the patient–doctor relationship after the first clinical consultation.


A total of 110 patients enrolled in a traditional Korean medical clinic participated in the study. Patients’ preference for doctors’ faces was assessed by a two alternative forced choice (2AFC) task, with 60 different pairs of six different Asian male doctors’ faces. One of the six doctors then carried out the initial clinical consultation for these patients. The patient–doctor relationship was assessed using the Consultation and Relational Empathy (CARE) measure.


The data of all patients’ simulated preferences for a doctor’s face and their assessment values of a doctor’s relational empathy was compared, and no significant correlation was found between both values (r=–0.024, p>0.809).


These findings suggest that the perceived empathy in the patient–doctor relationship is not influenced by the patient’s preference for a certain doctor’s face. The first impression of a doctor is often determined by his appearance and look. However, whether or not the patient particularly prefers a doctor’s face does not seem to matter in developing a good patient–doctor relationship. Click here to read original article content.

Article Courtesy of NCBI -PubMed.gov Lee SH, Chang DS, Kang OS, Kim HH, Kim H, Lee H, Park HJ, Chae Y