Friday, June 19, 2015

You can look more trustworthy, but not more competent

A team of New York University researchers are studying facial expressions (Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin) finds that facial cues conveying trustworthiness are malleable, but the ones denoting competence and ability are less so.

Trustworthiness can be conveyed by a neutral face seen as "happy," while untrustworthiness is conveyed by a neutral face seeming angry. The precention comes from the facial structure not the expression the person puts on.

They ran faces by study participants in a number of formats--photos and computer-generated. They also asked which person would the participants hire as a financial adviser. When asked who would most likely win a weightlifting contest--ability--they chose the wider face identified with more testosterone.

So basically--people trust you more if your resting face or usual expression is a little happy-looking.

To look more competent--maybe put on glasses?

Also, don't people with a "duh face," you know, mouth slack, expressionless--look less competent, at least?

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