Speed and Accuracy of People's Trustworthiness Judgment across Cultures
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Previous research on person perception has shown that people form first impressions with remarkable speed and accuracy, but relatively little is known about the speed and accuracy of trustworthiness judgments across cultures. The present research examined these by asking Chinese and Canadians to infer trustworthiness from faces of criminals and non-criminals from different cultural backgrounds across two domains (i.e., financial crime in Study 1 and violent crime in Study 2). Across both studies, we found that when participants were given time and opportunity, Chinese tended to take a longer time than Canadians to make trustworthiness judgments (although this difference did not reach statistical significance in Study 2). In Study 1, we found that perceivers from both cultures were accurate at judging European North Americans (ENA) corporate criminals as less trustworthy than ENA non-criminal executives, although they did not differentiate Asian corporate criminals from Asian non-criminal executives. In Study 2, we found that perceivers from both cultures were accurate at judging both Asian and ENA violent criminals as less trustworthy than Asian and ENA non-criminals. Chinese were also accurate at rating Middle Eastern violent criminals as less trustworthy than Middle Eastern non-criminals, but Canadians did not differentiate them in terms of their trustworthiness ratings. In terms of their crime likelihood ratings, however, both Chinese and Canadians accurately rated all the criminals as more likely to commit violent crimes than the non-criminals, regardless of the targets’ ethnicities. Finally, we discussed some of the practical implications of our findings on detection of deception, as well as how providing a context for trustworthiness judgments might have played an important role in people’s judgmental accuracy.