Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Investing in faces


From ScienceDaily we learn

Our decisions to trust people with our money are based more on how they look then how they behave, according to new research from the University of Warwick. 

Actually that's not what the research concluded. It found two things.
  1. A strong (13 out of 15) bias towards a trustworthy appearance where there was no other information.
  2. A weak bias (6%) where there was additional information as to trustworthiness. 
No great surprise really. In fact a bias of 6% suggests to me that when it comes to investing, we do at least give priority to the information over the smile. Interestingly, the faces were computer-generated.

The team used a computer algorithm to create a set of 20 pairs of faces at opposing ends of the trustworthiness scale. This computer software modifies the apparent trustworthiness of faces by altering their features. The researchers were able to experimentally manipulate the unfakeable features (those related to shape of the face) that make a face look trustworthy or untrustworthy. These 40 faces were then used in a series of trust games with human participants. 

Where else could this go? Maybe politicians could have plastic surgery to enhance their facial trustworthiness.


Well surely they could have their most furtive features smoothed away?


So are they stuck with ingrained behavioural traits, the shifty eye and the nonsensical speech? Is it an impossible task?

I think it is. 


Anonymous said...

Somehow I doubt this will be used to our advantage.

A K Haart said...

Roger - somehow I know you are right and not even an angel's face would persuade me otherwise.

James Higham said...

I don't trust any of those three.

A K Haart said...

James - neither do I somehow.