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Meghan Markle looks ‘more trustworthy’ than the Queen, experts conclude

An algorithm says Meghan’s face is more trustworthy than the Queen’s. Photo / Getty Images


Meghan Markle looks ‘more trustworthy’ than the Queen, experts conclude


According to the authors of a new research looking at variations in portraits over 500 years, Meghan Markle ‘looks more trustworthy’ than the Queen.

PSL Research University researchers used an algorithm to scan faces in pictures and evaluate how trustworthy they appear.

According to the Daily Mail, they used the technology to discover that as living conditions increased from 1500 AD, so did the trustworthiness of the individuals in the pictures.

The Queen and Meghan Markle were compared to Elizabeth I in the course of training the model.

In addition, Prince Harry’s wife was judged to be three and a half times more trustworthy than Elizabeth I in the research.

The authors discovered that Her Majesty the Queen was just one and a half times more trustworthy.


According to the authors, the algorithm doesn’t evaluate trustworthiness in and of itself, but rather the characteristics and features that portrait sitters sought to convey in their picture.

“It is possible that Megan Markle is not a trustworthy person, but on average her appearance in her portrait makes her look trustworthy,” author Nicolas Baumard said.

“This is probably a quality that is very important to her, probably more than Queen Elizabeth I who does not smile in her portraits.”

Researchers also examined pictures of Donald Trump and Joe Biden, finding that Biden looked 300 percent more trustworthy than Trump.

When comparing Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, the algorithm discovered that Barack Obama appeared to be more trustworthy.

The study said: “Social trust is linked to a host of positive societal outcomes, including improved economic performance, lower crime rates and more inclusive institutions.

“Yet, the origins of trust remain elusive, partly because social trust is difficult to document in time.

“Building on recent advances in social cognition, we design an algorithm to automatically generate trustworthiness evaluations for the facial action units of European portraits in large historical databases.

“Our results show that trustworthiness in portraits increased over the period 1500–2000 paralleling the decline of interpersonal violence and the rise of democratic values observed in Western Europe.

“Further analyses suggest that this rise of trustworthiness displays is associated with increased living standards.”

Rather than using actual individuals, the researchers built a 3D avatar of a face to train the algorithm on various degrees of trustworthiness in the initial step. This allowed them to manipulate the facial emotions and muscles.

Portraits from the 1500s through the 2000s showed their people becoming more trustworthy as time passed.

This is based on variations in facial muscular contractions in portraits painted during that time period, which are related to higher living standards.

“The origins of trust are unclear, partly because changes in social trust are difficult to quantitatively document over time,” the team said.

“We tested whether higher GDP per capita was associated with the rise of trustworthiness in portraits.

“The observed evolution of trustworthiness displays cannot be reduced to a simple cultural accumulation that would have led to the development of painting techniques making sitters look more trustworthy.”

The research included the scanning of 1,962 paintings from the National Portrait Gallery dating from 1505 to 2016.

They utilized a face-processing algorithm that had been validated using pictures of faces that had been assessed for trustworthiness by human participants.

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