Would you trust this face?
Maybe not. But according to a study published last week in the Journal of Marketing Communications, people are more likely to trust that face than this one or, heaven forbid, this one.
The study showed participants pictures of men endorsing certain products. In some photos, the men were clean-shaven. In others, the same men had beards. Participants thought the men with beards had greater expertise and were significantly more trustworthy when they were endorsing products like cell phones and toothpaste.
But, oddly, men with beards were slightly less effective than smooth-cheeked fellows in underwear advertisements. Apparently we don’t want Zach Galifianakis selling us boxers.
The researchers say the implications of their findings could extend far beyond advertisements. For instance, male politicians might want to consider not shaving because the “presence of a beard on the face of candidates could boost their charisma, reliability, and above all their expertise as perceived by voters, with positive effects on voting intention.”
I had always heard you can never trust a man with a beard. But that axiom came from friends who couldn’t establish a five-o’clock shadow with three week’s notice.
What’s not helping my trustworthiness, however, is being journalist who is studying to be a lawyer.