In many situations, ranging from cooperative exchange to fraud, people are faced with the challenge to judge how trusting or naïve (i.e., gullible) others are. In three studies, using both theory-driven and data-driven methods, we examine how people form gullibility judgments based on a person’s facial appearance. People have a shared representation of what a gullible person looks like. Gullibility impressions are positively related to trustworthiness impressions, but negatively related to dominance impressions (Study 1, n = 254). Examining the influence of a wide range of facial characteristics, we find that gullibility impressions are based on cues that have been linked to low levels of perceived threat, such as babyfacedness (Study 2, n = 403) and smiles (Study 3, n = 209). Together, these findings show that people form gullibility judgments based on facial cues that are seen as indicators of relative harmlessness (i.e., positive intentions and low capabilities).
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 2022|