Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Early Facial Trustworthiness as a Predictor of Externalizing Behavior in Adolescence and Arrest in Adulthood Public Deposited

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  • Background: It is unclear what the long-term consequences of a trustworthy or untrustworthy face may be across adolescence and into adulthood. Some people in boys’ lives may be differentially influenced by facial trustworthiness, and those differences may partially explain discrepancies among ratings of boys’ externalizing behaviors (e.g., by mothers, fathers, and teachers). Others' perceptions of externalizing behavior may result in expectancy effects. It is possible then that early facial trustworthiness may predict stereotype congruent life outcomes in later life, such as arrest, which represents a combination of delinquent behavior and social judgment. Hypotheses: H1. Facial trustworthiness during boys’ early adolescence will predict higher teacher ratings of their externalizing behavior later in adolescence. Boys who appear less facially trustworthy in early adolescence will be more likely to experience at least one arrest at adulthood. Tests of both hypotheses will control for externalizing behavior as measured by individuals less susceptible to the biasing influence of physical appearance (e.g., mothers), and other measures of facial characteristics (e.g., babyfacedness). Methods: Participants were 206 boys recruited from neighborhoods with high rates of police reports of juvenile delinquency. Boys were assessed longitudinally from late childhood to early adulthood. At age 14, photographs were rated for facial trustworthiness, and self and parents' reports of externalizing behavior were assessed. At ages 15-18 years, teacher reported externalizing behavior was assessed. Arrest records from ages 19-25 years were also collected. Facial trustworthiness ratings of photos at ages 13 and 24 also were available. Results: Early facial trustworthiness did not predict teachers' reports of boys’ externalizing behavior across adolescence or arrest at adulthood. However, boys’ externalizing behavior during adolescence was negatively correlated with facial trustworthiness at adulthood. Conclusion: Boys’ early facial trustworthiness failed to predict their later externalizing behavior. It is possible that engagement in externalizing behaviors change facial trustworthiness over time (i.e., the Dorian Gray effect), which may explain the congruence between face perceptions and trustworthy behavior observed in adulthood.
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