Researchers found that the children’s perception of trustworthiness is associated with how attractive they find adults. It turns out that the uglier a child think someone is, the less trustworthy the child believes that person is.
The study published on April 12 in the journal Frontiers in Psychology states that we still retain this trustworthiness judgment, although more consistently, as we grow. Girls would be better at this than boys.
These revelations support previous research that demonstrated people believe someone is more intelligent, more successful and more sociable if that person is attractive. As a result, treating attractive people better not only happens in adults but also happens in babies.
The researchers from Zhejiang Sci-Tech University and Wenzhou Medical University in China studied 138 people, including children eight, 10, and 12 years old as well as adults. They employed FaceGen, a face generation program, which produced up to 200 photos of male faces that looked straight and had neutral facial expressions.
The research team asked these participants to rate the trustworthiness and attractiveness of each face in the photo. The team found that attractiveness is strongly linked with a person’s appearance. The more attractive faces were deemed more trustworthy while ugly people were said to be less trustworthy.
Moreover, this ability increased with age but girls become better with this ability than boys. All in all, this implies that no matter how much we try to avoid it, adults also instinctively judge a person’s character based on his attractiveness. It is a known fact that people use facial cues to judge other people’s character, a trait that is important for one’s social functioning and development. However, until now, this trait was only observed in adults and babies but not on children.
The study provides new information about this trait’s development from birth through adulthood. The findings add to other studies that claimed attractiveness is a very crucial basis for positive first impressions.