Is Untrustworthy the New Ugly?

| A Rice University study found that lenders may judge your creditworthiness based on how trustworthy they think you look. The researchers didn’t pinpoint which physical characteristics look most or least trustworthy, but if they do in the future, might plastic surgery go from a luxury good to a financially necessity? [%comments]


Grant

Only if we remain a debt-driven society...

And of course that doesn't take into account that it's possible to get some forms of credit, like credit cards and student loans, without actually speaking to a person. That might become more prevalent.

Chris

i'm not being vain, i'm investing in myself

Vi

How curious... why would you think being beautiful equates to being trustworthy?

Ruth Ann Harnisch

There are academic studies purporting to show that most of us attribute the finer virtues to the people we considered most attractive. As a species, we apparently think "pretty does as pretty is."

Ed Kay

"...lenders may judge your creditworthiness based on how trustworthy they think you look". This used to be called racism. What's it called now?

Mark

"How curious... why would you think being beautiful equates to being trustworthy?"

No one said beautiful was trustworthy. The study showed that people were correctly able to predict who would pay back a loan and who wouldn't purely from a picture. They used data from a micro-lending site.

Mark

"There are academic studies purporting to show that most of us attribute the finer virtues to the people we considered most attractive. As a species, we apparently think "pretty does as pretty is.""

You guys are missing the point. The study did not say that people trusted attractive people more (which is probably also true). The study said that people were actually able to correctly predict who had paid back a loan and who had not purely from a picture of that person.

David T

I wonder if plastic surgery would then become tax deductible as an investment expense. Maybe the CEO of AIG needs to get some facework done ASAP....

Doug

I find this study odd.

I can't remember ever coming face-to-face with the decision maker when applying for a loan. How often does this actually happen anymore?

ktb

This article is really terribly written. There were two major components to the study, and the article tried to treat them as if they were the same point. You can ready a better summary and the paper here, and there's a link to the full paper.
http://www.media.rice.edu/media/NewsBot.asp?MODE=VIEW&ID=12299

MikeM

It's remarkable how much trustworthiness can be read from a person's face. It has more to do with their countenance and how they hold their mouth and brow than it does with their permanent features.

See here: http://www.boingboing.net/2009/02/13/research-on-snap-jud.html

August

The repeated misunderstandings of the actual study can be traced to the original post, which said, "lenders may judge your creditworthiness based on how trustworthy they think you look," That implies that your looks are a factor in the decision making. The study was about no such thing. Link is right that the original article is badly, and obviously misleadingly, written -- based simply on the evidence.

The study said that "MTurk workers could distinguish people with high credit scores from people with low credit scores based solely on the photographs." (The MTurk workers were apparently a simple source to hire people to participate.) This doesn't say that lenders use your photographs, this says that random people, not in the finance business, could make accurate guesses about someone's credit history based on their photographs.

What this proves is not racism, but as the song says, "You can't hide those lying eyes."

Read more...

Mojo Bone

@ #3 Vi: "How curious... why would you think being beautiful equates to being trustworthy?"

Perhaps because you've watched too many Disney movies where all the evil characters look evil and even have evil-sounding names like Cruella?