People are known to influence the way others judge us. But have we ever wondered if the beard, so fashionable in recent times, is judged positively or negatively in the case of a criminal trial?
This is the question two researchers at Montclair State University in New Jersey asked themselves. The experiment was quite simple: some subjects were shown two photos of the same subject, with and without a beard; the two photos seemed to belong to two different subjects and the interviewees had to associate the photos with two different defendants, one of rape and the other of a small cause with an insurance.
The result? 78% of those involved said they were convinced that the bearded version was that of the accused in the rape case.
This study is not the first to analyze people's perception of beards and their judgments. In another experiment 371 subjects were asked to draw the face of a criminal: in 82% of cases there was some form of beard. There would therefore appear to be an association between beard and criminality.