The relationship between the positivity effect and facial-cue based trustworthiness evaluations in older adults

  • Zhibin Guo
  • Shangfeng Han
  • Xiujuan Wang
  • Siyao Wang
  • Ye Xu
  • Shen LiuEmail author
  • Lin ZhangEmail author


This study investigates if there is an age-related positivity effect on how older adults in eastern cultures perform trustworthiness evaluations based on facial cues. Furthermore, it explores the potential method information processing affected by the positivity effect during trustworthiness evaluations. The results show that the level of trustworthiness older adults in China assign to faces is significantly higher than that of younger adults; older adults’ trustworthiness evaluations based on facial cues in the valid cueing condition is significantly higher than in the invalid cueing condition; and for younger adults, trustworthiness evaluation of untrustworthy faces in the valid cueing condition was significantly lower than in the invalid cueing condition. Overall, these results show that positive information processing in older adults is regulated by attention capacity, while negative information processing by young adults is regulated by attention capacity, which indicates that the age-related positivity effect in older adults is due to increased positive information processing.


Older adults Face trustworthiness evaluation Positivity effect Socioemotional selectivity theory Attention capacity 



The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. The National Social Science Fund of China (12BSH055), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71874170) and the K.C. Wong Magna Fund at Ningbo University supported this paper.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Institute of PsychologyNingbo UniversityNingboChina
  2. 2.College of Psychology and SociologyShenzhen UniversityShenzhenChina
  3. 3.School of Humanities and Social SciencesUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiChina

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