Familiarity Hijack: How Morphing Faces With Celebrity Images Can Enhance Trust

Rob Tanner , University of Wisonsin-Madison, USA
Ah-reum Maeng, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
In this research we investigate the effect of combining unfamiliar faces with those of celebrities. Using facial morphing software we create composite faces consisting of 65% of an unfamiliar face and 35% of a celebrity face. In two studies participants rated the resulting composite images as being significantly more trustworthy than the unfamiliar faces despite being entirely unaware of the presence of the celebrity faces in the morphed image. Building on previous literature, we argue that this effect is consistent with a familiarity explanation but is inconsistent with explanations relying on either similarity or transfer of specific individual meaning.
[ to cite ]:
Rob Tanner and Ah-reum Maeng (2010) ,"Familiarity Hijack: How Morphing Faces With Celebrity Images Can Enhance Trust", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 914-914 .