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On the Realness of People Who Do Not Exist: The Social Processing of Artificial Faces

82 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2022 Publication Status: Published

See all articles by Raffaele Tucciarelli

Raffaele Tucciarelli

University of London - School of Advanced Studies

Neza Vehar

University of London - The Warburg Institute

Shamil Chandaria

University of London - Institute of Philosophy

Manos Tsakiris

University of London - Royal Holloway

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Abstract

Today more than ever, we are asked to judge the realness, truthfulness and trustworthiness of our social world. We here focus on how people perceive artificially-generated faces. Faces generated by Generative adversarial networks (GANs) are realistic-looking faces of non-existing people, increasingly used in marketing, journalism, social media, and political propaganda. Across three studies, we investigated if and how participants can distinguish between GAN and REAL faces and the social consequences of exposure to artificial faces. GAN faces were more likely perceived as real than REAL faces, a pattern partly explained by intrinsic stimuli characteristics. Moreover, participants’ realness judgments influenced their behaviour, displaying increased social conformity towards faces perceived as real , independently of their actual realness. Lastly, knowledge about the presence of GAN faces eroded social trust. Our findings point to potentially far-reaching consequences of the pervasive use of GAN faces in a culture powered by images at unprecedented levels.

Suggested Citation

Tucciarelli, Raffaele and Vehar, Neza and Chandaria, Shamil and Tsakiris, Manos, On the Realness of People Who Do Not Exist: The Social Processing of Artificial Faces. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4061183 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4061183
This version of the paper has not been formally peer reviewed.

Raffaele Tucciarelli (Contact Author)

University of London - School of Advanced Studies ( email )

London, WC1E 7HU
United Kingdom

Neza Vehar

University of London - The Warburg Institute ( email )

London, WC1H 0AB
United Kingdom

Shamil Chandaria

University of London - Institute of Philosophy ( email )

United Kingdom

Manos Tsakiris

University of London - Royal Holloway ( email )

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