We're Less Likely to Contradict Someone Who Has a Trustworthy Face

How does someone's facial features influence how we view their decisions? The truth is if we think someone has a trustworthy face, we're less likely to contradict their decisions.

First impressions are, in part, based on superficial things. We judge people based on what clothing they wear, what their face looks like, what they sound like, and so on. Yes, in a perfect world we'd only judge people based on their actions alone with no inherent bias. But Alex Fadera from the BPS Research Digest has summarized an interesting study that shows how we may or may not decide to contradict someone else's decisions based on looks alone.


The study, published in the journal of Personnel Psychology, used 609 participants and asked them to review a decision made by the CEO of an imaginary company. The CEO was planning on cutting pay back by 15 percent for all staff, himself included. The researchers initially found that participants felt more faith in the CEO's decision if he had a photo posted in his biography that featured what participants considered a “trustworthy” face. Participants were more likely to claim his solution wasn't fair if he had an “untrustworthy” face in his photo. 

Participants were also asked if they thought there was another solution to this financial crisis that the company faced. Those who thought the CEO had a trustworthy face were less likely to think there were other, fairer alternatives. Whereas those who thought he had an untrustworthy face were more likely to question his actions.

These results are fascinating in how we might mindfully review another person's actions and decisions in the real world, solely based on looks--how it could influence a jury or voters.

Researcher wrote of their results:

“The finding that initial trustworthiness impressions derived from surface cues (facial appearance) help shape subsequent perceptions of justice has important implications for justice theory and research.”

It may be something to keep in the back of your mind when people start announcing their run for the Presidency. Next time you hear someone justify their allegiance to a particular candidate with the phrase, “He/She just has a trustworthy face,” that should be a red flag.

Read more at BPS Research Digest

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

Elizabeth Warren's plan to forgive student loan debt could lead to an economic boom

A plan to forgive almost a trillion dollars in debt would solve the student loan debt crisis, but can it work?

Photo credit: Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren has just proposed a bold education reform plan that would forgive billions in student debt.
  • The plan would forgive the debt held by more than 30 million Americans.
  • The debt forgiveness program is one part of a larger program to make higher education more accessible.
Keep reading Show less

Banned books: 10 of the most-challenged books in America

America isn't immune to attempts to remove books from libraries and schools, here are ten frequent targets and why you ought to go check them out.

Nazis burn books on a huge bonfire of 'anti-German' literature in the Opernplatz, Berlin. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Culture & Religion
  • Even in America, books are frequently challenged and removed from schools and public libraries.
  • Every year, the American Library Association puts on Banned Books Week to draw attention to this fact.
  • Some of the books they include on their list of most frequently challenged are some of the greatest, most beloved, and entertaining books there are.
Keep reading Show less

Supreme Court to hear 3 cases on LGBT workplace discrimination

In most states, LGBTQ Americans have no legal protections against discrimination in the workplace.

(Photo by Andres Pantoja/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The Supreme Court will decide whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also applies to gay and transgender people.
  • The court, which currently has a probable conservative majority, will likely decide on the cases in 2020.
  • Only 21 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws effectively extending the Civil Rights of 1964 to gay and transgender people.
Keep reading Show less