From the Viscera to First Impressions: Phase-Dependent Cardio-Visual Signals Bias the Perceived Trustworthiness of Faces

Ruben Teixeira Azevedo, Mariana von Mohr , Manos Tsakiris

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When we see new people, we rapidly form first impressions. Whereas past research has focused on the role of morphological or emotional cues, we asked whether transient visceral states bias the impressions we form. Across three studies (N = 94 university students), we investigated how fluctuations of bodily states, driven by the interoceptive impact of cardiac signals, influence the perceived trustworthiness of faces. Participants less often chose faces presented in synchrony with their own cardiac systole as more trustworthy than faces presented out of synchrony. Participants also explicitly judged faces presented in synchrony with their cardiac systole as less trustworthy. Finally, the presentation of faces in synchrony with participants’ cardiac diastole did not modulate participants’ perceptions of the faces’ trustworthiness, suggesting that the systolic phase is necessary for such interoceptive effects. These findings highlight the role of phasic interoceptive information in the processing of social information and provide a mechanistic account of the role of visceroception for social perception.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-131
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological Science
Early online date2 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

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