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Trustworthiness perception at zero acquaintance: Consensus, accuracy, and prejudice

  • Jean-François Bonnefon (a1), Astrid Hopfensitz (a2) (a3) and Wim De Neys (a4)

Research on trustworthiness perception from faces has unfolded in a way that is strikingly reminiscent of Jussim's narrative in his 2012 book. Jussim's analysis warns us against overemphasizing evidence about prejudice over evidence about accuracy, when both are scant; and reminds us to hold all accounts to the same standards, whether they call on societal biases or true signals.

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Bonnefon J. F., Hopfensitz A. & De Neys W. (2013) The modular nature of trustworthiness detection. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 142:143–50.
Bonnefon J. F., Hopfensitz A. & De Neys W. (2015) Face-ism and kernels of truth in facial inferences. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 19:421–22.
Cogsdill E. J., Todorov A. T., Spelke E. S. & Banaji M. R. (2014) Inferring character from faces: A developmental study. Psychological Science 25:1132–39.
De Neys W., Hopfensitz A. & Bonnefon J.-F. (2013) Low second-to-fourth digit ratio predicts indiscriminate social suspicion, not improved trustworthiness detection. Royal Society of London: Biology Letters 9(2):20130037. (Online article, published February 27, 2013). doi: 10.1098/rsbl/2013.0037.
De Neys W., Hopfensitz A. & Bonnefon J.-F. (2015) Adolescents gradually improve at detecting trustworthiness from the facial features of unknown adults. Journal of Economic Psychology 47:1722.
Jussim L. (2012) Social perception and social reality: Why accuracy dominates bias and self-fulfilling prophecy. Oxford University Press.
Olivola C. Y., Funk F. & Todorov A. (2014) Social attributions from faces bias human choices. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 18:566–70.
Porter S., England L., Juodis M., ten Brinke L. & Wilson K. (2008) Is the face a window to the soul? Investigation of the accuracy of intuitive judgments of the trustworthiness of human faces. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science 40:171–77.
Porter S., Gustaw C. & ten Brinke L. (2010) Dangerous decisions: The impact of first impressions of trustworthiness on the evaluation of legal evidence and defendant culpability. Psychology, Crime, and Law 16:477–91.
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Rule N. O., Krendl A. C., Ivcevic Z. & Ambady N. (2013) Accuracy and consensus in judgments of trustworthiness from faces: Behavioral and neural correlates. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 10:409–26.
Stirrat M. & Perrett D. I. (2010) Valid facial cues to cooperation and trust: Male facial width and trustworthiness. Psychological Science 21:349–54.
Todorov A., Funk F. & Olivola C. Y. (2015a) Response to Bonnefon et al.: Limited “kernels of truth” in facial inferences. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 19:422.
Todorov A., Olivola C. Y., Dotsch R. & Mende-Siedlecki P. (2015b) Social attributions from faces: Determinants, consequences, accuracy, and functional significance. Annual Review of Psychology 66:519–45.
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Wilson J. P. & Rule N. O. (2015) Facial trustworthiness predicts extreme criminal-sentencing outcomes. Psychological Science 26:1325–31.
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Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
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