For those of you who feel like people rarely take you serious, it may be because of something you have no control over: your face has baby-like characteristics. Believe it or not, research has shown that when people have “baby-face” attributes, they are less likely to be taken serious and they are often perceived as naive and simple.
So what defines a “baby-face”? According to design theory, faces are defined as baby-like when they have round features, large eyes, small noses, high foreheads, short chins, and relatively lighter skin and hair. If you have a good portion of these features then, well, you are probably perceived by others as being similar to a baby: honest but simple, innocent but helpless.
Having a baby-face isn’t all bad, of course. Sometimes looking honest and innocent can work in your favor. If you commit a crime, for example, a jury is more likely to assume you did it on accident; you look too naive to have done it on purpose. And, if you are advertising a product through a testimonial, you will likely be perceived as more honest (naive, sure, but telling the truth as you know it!) Of course, if you are trying to sound authoritative about a product that people need to learn about to make a decision, your credibility will go out the window. Being baby-faced is only good for selling products and ideas when people don’t need instructive information to make a choice.
With that in mind, I thought I’d compare two faces of people advertising two related products, services, or ideologies. Based on the images alone below(which tend to highlight some baby-face characteristics more than others), who would you be more likely to trust? The more “honest,” innocent, and/or naive baby-face on the left, or the more authoritative and knowledgeable, less baby-faced on the right?
If these images were shown to you in the media as a comparison, which would be your choice? Would you trust Allstate or Progressive? Joe Biden or Marco Rubio? Amanda Bynes or Lindsay Lohan? Perhaps you already have your mind made up because you know these people and what they stand for. But what if you didn’t? Would you be inclined to have a baby-faced bias? Research suggests you would!