Effects of facial expression and linguistic information on judgments of trustworthiness

Hiroki Ozono, Yuko Morimoto, Satoshi Nakashima, Asuka Komiya, Motoki Watabe, Sakiko Yoshikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


How do we come to trust strangers? Previous studies have shown that participants trust smiling faces more than they trust nonsmiling faces. In daily communication, both facial and linguistic information are typically presented simultaneously. In this context, what kind of person will be judged as more trustworthy? In our experiment, 52 individuals participated as donors in a Trust Game involving many partners. Prior to the game, participants were shown photographs of their partners' faces (smiling/nonsmiling) as well as answers to questions indicating their partners' level of trustworthiness (neutral/somewhat trustworthy/trustworthy). Participants then decided how much money to give to each partner. The results showed that more trust was placed in partners providing trustworthy answers than in those providing neutral answers. Smiling female partners were trusted more than nonsmiling female partners. In addition, smiling partners were less trusted than nonsmiling partners only when the answers were trustworthy. These results suggest that individuals displaying too many signs of trustworthiness can actually be viewed with distrust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-72
Number of pages8
JournalResearch in Social Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cooperation
  • Linguistic information
  • Signaling
  • Smile
  • Trustworthiness

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