Explaining the persistent influence of facial cues in social decision-making

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Abstract

Impressions of trustworthiness based on facial cues influence many consequential decisions, in spite of their (generally) poor accuracy. Here, we test whether reliance on facial cues can be better explained by (a) the belief that facial cues are more valid than other cues or by (b) the quick and primary processing of faces, which makes relying on facial cues relatively effortless. Six studies (N = 2,732 with 73,182 trust decisions) test the two accounts by comparing the effects of facial cues and economic payoffs on trust decisions. People believe that facial cues are less valid than economic payoffs (Study 1), but relying on facial cues takes less time than relying on economic payoffs (Study 2). Critically, introducing facial cues causes people to discount payoff information, but introducing payoff information does not reduce the effect of facial cues (Studies 3a-c). Finally, when making intuitive (vs. reflective) trust decisions, people rely less on payoff information, but they do not rely less on facial cues (Study 4). Together, these findings suggest that persistent reliance on facial trustworthiness is better explained by the intuitive accessibility of facial cues, rather than beliefs that facial cues are particularly valid.
LanguageEnglish
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019

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title = "Explaining the persistent influence of facial cues in social decision-making",
abstract = "Impressions of trustworthiness based on facial cues influence many consequential decisions, in spite of their (generally) poor accuracy. Here, we test whether reliance on facial cues can be better explained by (a) the belief that facial cues are more valid than other cues or by (b) the quick and primary processing of faces, which makes relying on facial cues relatively effortless. Six studies (N = 2,732 with 73,182 trust decisions) test the two accounts by comparing the effects of facial cues and economic payoffs on trust decisions. People believe that facial cues are less valid than economic payoffs (Study 1), but relying on facial cues takes less time than relying on economic payoffs (Study 2). Critically, introducing facial cues causes people to discount payoff information, but introducing payoff information does not reduce the effect of facial cues (Studies 3a-c). Finally, when making intuitive (vs. reflective) trust decisions, people rely less on payoff information, but they do not rely less on facial cues (Study 4). Together, these findings suggest that persistent reliance on facial trustworthiness is better explained by the intuitive accessibility of facial cues, rather than beliefs that facial cues are particularly valid.",
author = "Bastian Jaeger and Anthony Evans and M. Stel and {van Beest}, Ilja",
year = "2019",
doi = "10.17605/OSF.IO/H6DSJ",
language = "English",
journal = "Journal of Experimental Psychology: General",
issn = "0096-3445",
publisher = "AMER PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOC",

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Explaining the persistent influence of facial cues in social decision-making

AU - Jaeger, Bastian

AU - Evans, Anthony

AU - Stel, M.

AU - van Beest, Ilja

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - Impressions of trustworthiness based on facial cues influence many consequential decisions, in spite of their (generally) poor accuracy. Here, we test whether reliance on facial cues can be better explained by (a) the belief that facial cues are more valid than other cues or by (b) the quick and primary processing of faces, which makes relying on facial cues relatively effortless. Six studies (N = 2,732 with 73,182 trust decisions) test the two accounts by comparing the effects of facial cues and economic payoffs on trust decisions. People believe that facial cues are less valid than economic payoffs (Study 1), but relying on facial cues takes less time than relying on economic payoffs (Study 2). Critically, introducing facial cues causes people to discount payoff information, but introducing payoff information does not reduce the effect of facial cues (Studies 3a-c). Finally, when making intuitive (vs. reflective) trust decisions, people rely less on payoff information, but they do not rely less on facial cues (Study 4). Together, these findings suggest that persistent reliance on facial trustworthiness is better explained by the intuitive accessibility of facial cues, rather than beliefs that facial cues are particularly valid.

AB - Impressions of trustworthiness based on facial cues influence many consequential decisions, in spite of their (generally) poor accuracy. Here, we test whether reliance on facial cues can be better explained by (a) the belief that facial cues are more valid than other cues or by (b) the quick and primary processing of faces, which makes relying on facial cues relatively effortless. Six studies (N = 2,732 with 73,182 trust decisions) test the two accounts by comparing the effects of facial cues and economic payoffs on trust decisions. People believe that facial cues are less valid than economic payoffs (Study 1), but relying on facial cues takes less time than relying on economic payoffs (Study 2). Critically, introducing facial cues causes people to discount payoff information, but introducing payoff information does not reduce the effect of facial cues (Studies 3a-c). Finally, when making intuitive (vs. reflective) trust decisions, people rely less on payoff information, but they do not rely less on facial cues (Study 4). Together, these findings suggest that persistent reliance on facial trustworthiness is better explained by the intuitive accessibility of facial cues, rather than beliefs that facial cues are particularly valid.

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DO - 10.17605/OSF.IO/H6DSJ

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JO - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General

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SN - 0096-3445

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