Does seeing someone blush make us trust them more?


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This study examined whether blushing after a sociomoral transgression remediates trustworthiness in an interdependent context. Participants (N = 196) played a computerized prisoner’s dilemma game with a virtual opponent who defected in the second round of the game. After the defection, a photograph of the opponent was shown, displaying a blushing or a nonblushing face. In a subsequent Trust Task, the blushing opponent was entrusted with more money than the nonblushing opponent. In further support of the alleged remedial properties of the blush, participants also indicated that they trusted the blushing opponent more, expected a lower probability that she would defect again, and judged the blushing opponent more positively.

Source: “Saved by the blush: Being trusted despite defecting.” from Emotion, Vol 11(2), Apr 2011, 313-319.

Some very interesting lie-detection research has been done by Paul Ekman. His research was the inspiration for the show Lie to Me.

For more on lying and deception, check out this episode of the consistently excellent Radiolab.

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