The way you look means a lot—especially if you’re in the financial industry—and the more trustworthy you look to potential clients, the more you’ll attract higher investments.
Despite appearances and first impressions, a recently published study in the PLoS One journal reports that even if people hear negative information about you, they’ll still be more inclined to invest their money with the person whose face is perceived to be more trustworthy.
“Trustworthiness is one of the most important traits for social and economic interactions and our study examines whether people take potentially costly actions in line with their face-based trustworthiness judgments,” Chris Olivola, one of the study’s authors, said in the University of Warwick’s press release. “It seems we are still willing to go with our own instincts about whether we think someone looks like we can trust them.”
Researchers from Warwick Business School, the University College London and Dartmouth College gave participants real money and asked them to choose who they’d invest with out of the face images provided. The volunteers were then given bad and good information about each of the faces, and asked again who they’d invest their money with.
Despite knowing the different reputations, the outcome didn’t change: participants were still more likely to invest their money with those who had more trustworthy-looking appearances
The team used a software created by Alex Todorov from Princeton University to produce 40 faces—20 pairs of faces at opposing ends of the trustworthiness scale—and altered features to “correspond to the way natural faces are perceived in reality.”
The study says that the difference in a trustworthy face and one that isn’t as much results from features that look “slightly angry or slightly happy, even when these faces are ‘at rest.’ ”
Basically, the bottom line is saying when it comes to investing, the way you look and the way people perceive you is a lot more important than your reputation.