1-Second Test People Use to Tell if You're Trustworthy or Not

woman's faceEver stare into someone's eyes and get that warm, fuzzy feeling that you can just trust them? I have! And you know what? Maybe we shouldn't go with that feeling, because apparently we're getting fooled by eyebrows.


Yes, that feeling of trust we have in certain people -- or that feeling of suspicion -- may be based entirely on their facial features. Temple University researcher Brian C. Holtz tested this idea and found that we actually judge people's actions and intentions partly on how trustworthy we think their faces look.

So what does a guilty face look like -- and what does an innocent face look like? Here's how it breaks down, according to Holtz's study.

Trustworthy face: The eyebrows are slightly lifted toward the center of the face, so that together they form an upside-down U-shape across the person's brow. Also, the corners of their mouths are upturned.

Untrustworthy face: The eyebrows point downward toward the center of the face, together forming a V-shape. (Think Jack Nicholson.) The corners of the mouth turn down at the corners.

(I know what you're thinking ... corners of the mouth turning up or down. Don't we call that, you know, smiling and frowning?!? Fair enough! The researchers probably mean mouths that point that way while at rest.)

Anyway, knowing that something as arbitrary as eyebrow placement could influence how much you trust someone is a scary prospect. So much for intuition! Let's check out a few examples and get a gut check on the people photographed.

Here's a photo of a man with a "trustworthy" face. I bet he would NEVER cheat on his wife, ever! That photo of another woman on his phone? She must have sent it to him accidentally.

smiling man

Yeah ... or maybe because of his sweet, sincere face, he's been getting away with lies his whole life!

This guilty-lookin' guy with the V-shaped eyebrows, on the other hand, is who you hire to "disappear" someone. He obviously works for the mob. Or maybe he's a meth dealer. Either way, don't let your kids get too close to him.

frowning man

Or maybe he's the most honest contractor in your town. The guy who will find you the lowest prices on supplies and who always overestimates the budget in the hopes that he'll actually finish the job (ON TIME!) either at or below his estimate.

Here is the most innocent-looking woman on the planet. You'd trust her to do your bookkeeping, right? She'd never think of skimming the till. Not with those upward-tilting eyebrows!

smiling woman

Or maybe she's stealthily built a secret fortune by skimming off of all her clients for years -- all thanks to her sweet, trustworthy-looking face.

THIS UNTRUSTWORTHY-LOOKING WOMAN WILL STEAL YOUR MAN! She will stab you in the back. She ruled her sorority by getting dirt on every single girl, and now she rules the law firm she works for by the same exact means.

untrustworthy woman

Or maybe she's your best friend, the kindest, most loyal, most truthful person you know. And we've misjudged her based on her mean-looking face!

It's something to think about. What if we judged all of The Bachelor cast members by this criteria? Boy would we be off. I mean, take a look at Kelsey. Classic "trustworthy" face, with those super-sincere eyebrows. But as viewers have discovered recently, there's something off about how she talks about her husband's death.

More from The Stir: Kelsey's Disturbing Confession Leaves Everyone Speechless

kelsey the bachelor

And what about kids?!? Just look at these two little angels. One of them dunked your iPhone into the toilet. Which one do you believe?

"No, mama. I didn't drop your iPhone into the toilet!"

cute child

"No, mama. I didn't drop your iPhone into the toilet!"

child's face

Oh, but moms usually know to be skeptical of a sweet, innocent face! Right?

Do you think you've been making these judgments? Do you have an innocent-looking or guilty-looking face?


Images via bozonhiggsa/Shutterstock, LDprod/Shutterstock, Kues/Shuterstock, liza54500/Shutterstock, fotogestoeber/Shutterstock, ABC, Ekaterina Rainbow/Shutterstock, Lapina/Shutterstock

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