Accuracy in discrimination of self-reported cooperators using static facial information

Anthony C. Little, Benedict C. Jones, Lisa M. DeBruine, Robin I. M. Dunbar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (SciVal)


People readily ascribe personality traits to others and believe that faces hold important guides to character. Here we examined the relationship between static facial appearance and self-reported cooperation/defection using the prisoner's dilemma (N=193). Study 1 combined face images of those self-reporting they would be most and least likely to cooperate. The composites of cooperators were seen as more cooperative than non-cooperators. Study 2 demonstrated accuracy with ratings of individual faces. Masculinity of face shape was negatively related to self-reported cooperation for men, but not women. Further, ratings of smile intensity were positively, but not significantly, related to self-reported cooperation. Overall, individuals appear able judge the potential of others to cooperate from static facial appearance alone at rates greater than chance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-512
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • Accuracy
  • Cooperation
  • Detection
  • Prisoner's dilemma
  • Social perception


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