Would you buy a used car from this man? The answer depends on whether he looks like you, researchers believe.
We are more likely to trust people who look like us, psychologists told the British Science Festival yesterday â€” even though we find them less attractive.
Researchers tested how willing players of a game were to entrust money to strangers whose faces they could see on a computer screen. They found that players were more trusting when those faces had been digitally manipulated to resemble their own.
â€œNormally they trusted people about 50 per cent of the time. But when the faces were changed to look like them, they trusted 73 per cent of the time,â€ said Lisa DeBruine of the University of Aberdeen, who conducted the research.
She said she believed that the response had an evolutionary basis, as we subconsciously assume those who look like us must be relatives. But because we are programmed to avoid finding close relatives sexually attractive, this means those we trust are not necessarily the ones we find attractive. Dr DeBruineâ€™s team found that even when looking at members of the opposite sex, subjects found those who looked like them trustworthy â€” but they did not want to sleep with them.
â€œWhen the players were judging the faces for physical attractiveness they thought similar faces less attractive,â€ she said. â€œSo we believe resemblance is trustworthy â€” but not lustworthy.â€
So, next time you have to sell something to someone who looks like you, be sure to smile and raise your eyebrows (but only in the center).