Development of face-based trustworthiness impressions in childhood: A systematic review and metaanalysis

Saba Siddique* (Corresponding Author), Clare Sutherland, Romina Palermo, Yong Zhi Foo, Derek Swe, Linda Jeffery

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Adults form highly influential impressions about how trustworthy someone is from a mere glance at their face. Given their social and adaptive influence, the question emerges of how trust impressions develop. Following renewed interest, some mixed findings, and debate around their origins, this paper systematically reviews and meta-analyses research on the maturity of children’s face-based trust impressions. Results from 10 studies (representing 1325 children aged 3-12, and 851 adults aged 17-81, across White, Asian, and Black ethnicities, and both sexes) suggest beginnings of a mature trust impression system exist in 3-to 5-year-olds. Meta-analysis reveals trust impressions develop across childhood and show adult-like patterns between 10 and 13 years. Outstanding questions in the field are identified
Original languageEnglish
Article number101131
Number of pages17
JournalCognitive Development
Early online date15 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

This research was supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship to SS.

CRediT authorship contribution statement
Saba Siddique: Conceptualisation, Data Curation, Formal Analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Writing – Original Draft, Writing – Review and Editing. Clare A.M. Sutherland: Conceptualisation, Methodology, Supervision, Writing – Review and Editing. Romina Palermo: Conceptualisation, Supervision, Writing – Review and Editing. Linda Jeffery: Conceptualisation Supervision, Writing – Review and Editing. Yong Z. Foo: Formal Analysis, Software, Visualisation, Writing – Review and Editing. Derek C. Swe: Investigation, Writing - Review and Editing.


  • facial first impressions
  • trustworthiness
  • development
  • systematic review
  • Metaanalysis


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