Age-related differences in spontaneous trait judgments from facial appearance.

Harriet L Smailes, Joyce Humphries, Hannah Ryder, Thimna Klatt, John Maltby, Alice M Pearmain, Heather D Flowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
73 Downloads (Pure)


We tested whether there are age-related declines in detecting cues to trustworthiness, a skill that has been demonstrated to be rapid and automatic in younger adults. Young (age M = 21.17 years) and older (age M = 70.15 years) adults made criminal appearance judgments to unfamiliar faces, which were presented at a duration of either 100, 500, or 1000-ms. Participants’ response times and judgment confidence were recorded. Older compared to young adults were poorer at judging trustworthiness at 100-ms, and were slower overall in making their judgments. Further, the cues (i.e., perceptions of anger, trustworthiness, and happiness) underlying criminality judgments were the same across age groups. Judgment confidence increased with increasing exposure duration for both age groups, while older adults were less confident in their judgments overall than their young counterparts. The implications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law.
Early online date19 Jun 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jun 2018


  • first impressions
  • trait inferences
  • face perception
  • criminality


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