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It pays to be plain. 'Average' faces make you look more trustworthy

It pays to be plain. 'Average' faces make you look more trustworthy
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

There are some people you meet who you feel you can trust right away, and other people who make you hold your purse tighter. A new study suggests part of that might be down to how attractive the person is.

You might expect that given our image-obsessed culture, people would naturally trust more attractive people and distrust less attractive people. It turns out, however, that things don't always work the way you expect.

To test this out, scientists used computer software to combine pictures of 92 women to create a "typical" face. Then they created an "attractive" face from 12 images that people had rated as being attractive.

Finally, they merged the "typical" and "attractive" faces with varying settings to create 11 faces. Participants - all women for this test - rated the faces on a 9-point scale of how trustworthy and attractive they looked.

At the end of the day, the researchers found that the more "typical" face rated as more trustworthy. The highly attractive and less attractive versions of the face were rated less trustworthy.

The researchers believe this is because people are wired to feel more comfortable around familiar things and to fear the unfamiliar. And in the case of faces, our minds are more familiar with average looks.

I'm not entirely convinced, and I would like to see this experiment extended. For example, I would like to see what happens when men rate the female faces. Would the "typical" face still fare as well?

Plus, I would like to see both men and women rate male faces to see what is considered most trustworthy. The results for each combination might end up being different.

Here are the images the scientists came up with. What do you think?

Attractiveness scale

 

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Source: Daily Mail
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