Brown eyes are generally seen as more trustworthy than blue by others, psychological research has found.
The facial features linked to both more trustworthiness and attractiveness include:
- bigger eyes,
- larger eyebrows,
- a mouth with upward-pointing corners,
- and a generally extended and narrower face shape.
The only exception was for a broad-faced man — when blue eyes become more trustworthy.
It wasn’t all about eye colour, though, the study’s authors explain:
“We concluded that although the brown-eyed faces were perceived as more trustworthy than the blue-eyed ones, it was not brown eye color per se that caused the stronger perception of trustworthiness but rather the facial features associated with brown eyes.”
They describe the facial features linked to trustworthiness:
“…brown-eyed faces tended to have a rounder and broader chin, a broader mouth with upward-pointing corners, relatively bigger eyes, and eyebrows closer to each other.
This was also the pattern of a trustworthy face.[…]
higher ratings for honesty are given to more baby-faced people with shorter chins and lower-positioned facial features.”
For the research people were asked to rate a series of male and female faces for trustworthiness.
Across all the male and female faces, people found brown eyes more trustworthy.
The shape of women’s faces made little difference to how trustworthy they seemed.
But, the shape of men’s faces did make a difference.
Most trustworthy male faces tended to be rounder, with bigger mouths and larger chins.
These elements of trustworthiness are also linked to attractiveness, the authors write:
“The same facial features that make one seem more trustworthy, namely bigger eyes, larger eyebrows, a mouth with upward-pointing corners, and a generally extended and narrower face shape, are also perceived as being more attractive.”
The study was published in the journal PLoS ONE (Kleisner et al., 2013).
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Eyes image from Shutterstock