Flashback Friday: Innocent until proven bearded.

By Seriously Science | September 26, 2014 6:00 am

Photo: memebase.com

All of you beardy-weirdy hipsters out there, listen up! If you are ever getting ready to be tried by a jury, be prepared to shave that bad boy. That’s because these scientists have data showing that jurors associate facial hair with criminals, and they are more likely to assume you’re guilty if you have a beard. And no, this study was not sponsored by Gillette.

Mock jurors’ perceptions of facial hair on criminal offenders.

“Two studies were conducted to measure whether mock jurors would stereotype criminal offenders as having facial hair. In Study 1, participants were asked which photograph belonged to a defendant in a rape case and which photograph belonged to a plaintiff in a head-injury case after they were “accidentally” dropped. The photographs were similar in appearance except one had facial hair. 78% of 63 participants (or 49) identified the photograph with facial hair as being involved in the rape case. In Study 2, 371 participants were asked to sketch the face of a criminal offender. 82% of the sketches (or 249) contained some form of facial hair. Results are consistent with the hypothesis that criminal defendants are perceived as having facial hair.”

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Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Hair today, gone tomorrow!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: rated G, told you so
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  • Sarah Levin

    In grad school we looked at these types of effects with broad number of faces.

    Race, asymmetry, facial hair, height, body mass, are all have an effect. But the standout outlier in provoking a bigoted response by observers – by two orders of magnitude over any other factor — was facial scarring. Transpose a line scar or burn scar onto a cheek of a prior “trustworthy” personal image and that person is going to lose the job interview, and indeed go to jail if they ever face a jury
    By the way responses to facial hair are culture dependent.

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Seriously, Science?, formerly known as NCBI ROFL, is the brainchild of two prone-to-distraction biologists. We highlight the funniest, oddest, and just plain craziest research from the PubMed research database and beyond. Because nobody said serious science couldn't be silly!
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