Who’s Trustworthy? A Robot Can Help Teach Us

The New York Times:

How do we decide whether to trust somebody?

An unusual new study of college students’ interactions with a robot has shed light on why we intuitively trust some people and distrust others. While many people assume that behaviors like avoiding eye contact and fidgeting are signals that a person is being dishonest, scientists have found that no single gesture or expression consistently predicts trustworthiness.

But researchers from Northeastern University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cornell recently identified four distinct behaviors that, together, appear to warn our brains that a person can’t be trusted.

The findings, to be published this month in the journal Psychological Science, may help explain why we are sometimes quick to like or dislike a person we have just met. More important, the research could one day be used to develop computer programs that can rapidly assess behavior in airports or elsewhere to flag security risks.

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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