Effects of gender and personality on first impression

Katia Mattarozzi, Alexander Todorov, Michele Marzocchi, Alba Vicari, Paolo Maria Russo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The present study explores whether and to what extent individual differences (i.e., gender and personality traits of perceiver) predict inferences of trustworthiness from emotionally neutral unfamiliar faces and the related confidence in judgment. Four hundred and ten undergraduate students participated in the study. Personality was assessed using the Big Five model (i.e., Extraversion, Neuroticism, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness and Openness to experience) and measures of trait anxiety and aggression. The results suggest that trustworthiness judgments are affected by the gender of the perceiver, although this effect depends on the valence of the face. Women tend to judge trustworthy-looking faces as significantly more trustworthy than men do, and this is particularly pronounced for judgments of female faces. There were no gender differences for judgments of untrustworthy-looking or neutral faces. Gender also seems to affect the confidence in judgment. Specifically, women were generally less confident than men in judging trustworthiness of unfamiliar faces. Personality also affected judgment. Both low agreeable individuals and high trait aggressive individuals tend to perceive unfamiliar faces as less trustworthy. The present findings suggest that both gender and personality traits are relevant for understanding how people evaluate the trustworthiness of others. Whom we decide to trust is a function not only of their facial features but also of gender and individual differences in personality traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0135529
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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