Magazine article Psychology Today

Trust at First Sight

Magazine article Psychology Today

Trust at First Sight

Article excerpt

WE FORM A rough idea of whether an unfamiliarface is trustworthy within milliseconds of laying eyes on it. Using computer-generated faces and manipulated headshots, Princeton psychologist Alex Todorov and others are getting a better sense of the facial features that put us at ease with someone before he or she even speaks. -Matt Huston

GENDER AND AGE

Otder-looking feminine visages are rated as the most trustworthy, according to a study reported in the journal Cognition. This tendency may be evolutionarily adaptive: "Typically in a new environment, males are much more threatening than females," says Todorov, who recently co-authored a review of studies on faces and social attributions.

EXPRESSION

People with genuine-looking smiles, which include contractions around the eyes and corners of the mouth, inspired more trust in study participants than those whose smiles were seen as less genuine, researchers report in Evolution and Human Behavior. …

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