The Shmooze

Baby-Faced Leaders Better at Making Peace

By Renee Ghert-Zand

iStock
Could you trust this face?

Never mind putting on your game face. Put on your baby face, instead — that is, if you want your opponent in peace negotiations to accept your overtures.

Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have found that enemies have an easier time gaining our trust if they have what is colloquially referred to as a “baby face.” They found this out by subtly changing the features of fictional politicians’ faces to look more baby-like. The study, authored by Dr. Ifat Maoz, Associate Professor in the Noah Mozes Department of Communication and Journalism and Head of the Smart Family Institute of Communications, reported that Jewish-Israeli subjects in the experiment were more likely to accept a particular peace proposal from a baby-faced fictional Palestinian politician than they were to accept the very same offer from a more mature-looking one.

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