Interpersonal Relationships Moderate the Effect of Faces on Person Judgments

32 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2008

See all articles by Mirjam A. Tuk

Mirjam A. Tuk

Imperial College Business School

Peeter W.J. Verlegh

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM); Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

A. Smidts

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Daniel H.J. Wigboldus

Radboud University Nijmegen

Date Written: August 2008 9,

Abstract

Previous research suggests that people form impressions of others based on their facial appearance in a very fast and automatic manner, and this especially holds for trustworthiness. However, as yet, this process has been investigated mostly in a social vacuum without taking interpersonal factors into account. In the current research, we demonstrate that both the relationship context that is salient at the moment of an interaction and the performed behavior, are important moderators of the impact of facial cues on impression formation. It is shown that, when the behavior of a person we encounter is ambiguous in terms of trustworthiness, the relationship most salient at that moment is of crucial impact on whether and how we incorporate facial cues communicating (un)trustworthiness in our final evaluations. Ironically, this can result in less positive evaluations of interaction partners with a trustworthy face compared to interaction partners with an untrustworthy face. Implications for research on facial characteristics, trust, and relationship theories are discussed.

Keywords: trust, facial characteristics, person perception, word-of-mouth, relationship norms

JEL Classification: C44, M31, M

Suggested Citation

Tuk, Mirjam A. and Verlegh, Peeter W.J. and Smidts, Ale and Wigboldus, Daniel H.J., Interpersonal Relationships Moderate the Effect of Faces on Person Judgments (August 2008 9,). ERIM Report Series Reference No. ERS-2008-057-MKT, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1287911

Mirjam A. Tuk (Contact Author)

Imperial College Business School ( email )

Tanaka Building
South Kensington Campus
London SW7 2AZ, DC SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Peeter W.J. Verlegh

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Ale Smidts

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Daniel H.J. Wigboldus

Radboud University Nijmegen

Postbus 9108
Nijmegen, 6500 HK
Netherlands

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