By DAVID MURPHY, Associated Press BENTON, Md.
(AP) — The latest research suggests people are more likely to spot bad guys and get away with it than they think.
Researchers at the University of Maryland found that people were more likely than non-Americans to say they saw someone who looked suspicious, and more likely if they heard a noise like someone was having a conversation with someone.
It is unclear why, though it could be a result of how people react when they see something suspicious, the researchers said.
Researchers are not certain that the behavior they observed could be attributed to bias, or that there’s a difference between what people think they’re seeing and what they see.
The study is the latest to examine the human tendency to see people as suspicious, particularly when it comes to the behavior of strangers.
The researchers asked people to rate how suspicious they felt of people they saw at events they attended, including a barbecue.
They then compared those ratings to how they rated how trustworthy the person appeared to be.
Researchers found that when people were asked to rate the stranger’s appearance and appearance-related behavior, they tended to perceive that person to be more suspicious and less trustworthy than if the person wasn’t suspicious.
Researchers were surprised to find the same effect was not seen when they asked people about people they were friends with or acquaintances.
In addition, the scientists found that the more trustworthy the stranger looked, the more people thought they saw the person.
Researchers said the findings were surprising because people often see the same faces at events that are not about them.
The new study is one of a handful that suggest people are looking more closely at strangers at events.
Other research has shown people are often more suspicious of strangers who appear to be doing something illegal, or who seem to be intoxicated.
A survey by the Pew Research Center last year showed that Americans were more than twice as likely as the general public to believe that someone who looks suspicious is a criminal.