In Good Times and Bad, Looks Matter

Execs' trustworthy appearance can mislead consumers
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2008 1:07 PM CDT
In Good Times and Bad, Looks Matter
People enter IndyMac Federal Bank Monday, July 14, 2008, in Pasadena, Calif., as customers lined up to pull as much money as they could from the failed financial institution.    (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Did so many people believe IndyMac CEO Michael Perry's assurances that his company was doing fine because of his baby face? A forthcoming study suggests that soft features like "large eyes, small nose, high forehead and small chin," engender more favorable bias in viewers, the Washington Post reports. The effect only goes so far, however.

"Even a baby face can't get away with murder," says one of the study's authors. The researchers told people about a fictional corporate scandal, accompanied by a picture of a CEO with digitally altered features. Those who saw the more babyish face were more likely to believe the executive's protestations of innocence, but only for the less severe scenarios. (More corporate execs stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.