Why blue-eyed men don't seem trustworthy

The answer may have little to do with eye color

Men with features commonly found on brown-eyed visages—rounded faces, larger chins, and wider mouths—appear more trustworthy than men with features commonly found on blue-eyed faces, according to a study in PLOS ONE.

For the study, researchers asked a group of individuals to rate the trustworthiness of photographs of faces based on their eye color and face shape. Overall, the group found brown-eyed faces to be more trustworthy than blue, regardless of whether of they were male or female.

The researchers then duplicated the photographs and changed the eye color. They found that:

  • The change in eye color had no effect on the perception of trustworthiness.
  • Rather, trustworthiness appeared to be determined by facial features: Brown-eyed individuals tend to have more rounded faces, while their blue-eyed peers generally have smaller eyes, and narrower mouths with downward-pointing corners.
  • However, that finding was generally limited to men; the shape of a woman's face did not have much bearing on their perceived trustworthiness.

According to the researchers, the study's findings are important because previous research has shown that the perception of trustworthiness can impact an individual's economic, social, and reproductive success (Fitzgerald, Medical News Today, 1/11).

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