Washington, D.C.: Children’s trustworthiness is linked to how attractive the people look, says a new study.
Researchers have found that as children, how we perceive someone’s trustworthiness is linked to how attractive we find them. The ability to make this trustworthiness judgment develops as we grow and becomes more consistent and the girls are better at it than the boys.
Many psychology studies have proven the existence of the so-called “beauty stereotype”. This describes the phenomenon whereby more attractive people are also considered to be smarter, more sociable and more successful. To be attractive is to be treated better by your peers and preferred by new-born babies than the uglier people.
Dr Fengling Ma and Dr Fe Xu of Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, and Dr Xiaming Lu of Wenzhou Medical University, China, assessed 138 participants, aged eight, ten and 12 years old, and compared them with a group of adults.
They used a face generation program (FaceGen) to produce 200 images of male faces, all with a neutral expression and direct gaze.
The research found a strong, direct relationship between the two traits, the faces deemed more trustworthy were also considered to be more attractive. This relationship also strengthened with age and revealed that like adults, the children also look to a person’s attractiveness as an indication of their character.
The study is published in the Frontiers in Psychology journal.