An honest face

Mar 10, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Wider faced men are less trustworthy and our instincts know it, according to researchers at the University of St Andrews.

A new study by at the University shows that how trustworthy men are can be seen in their faces.

The study involved inviting men to play a game for . The game offered players opportunities to trust other participants, but also opportunities to exploit them.

During the game a participant was shown an expressionless photo of a fellow player's face at the start of each game. The participant had then to decide whether to take an immediate pay-off or entrust the money to the person in the snapshot - who, in turn, could decide either to co-operate, and help both players make more money, or take the cash and run.

Lead researcher Michael Stirrat set up the games to investigate whether he could find any measurable relationship between perceptions of trustworthiness from perceptions and behaviour. He found that participants were more likely to entrust money to men with narrower faces.

Michael said:

"We all make instant judgements about strangers - whether to trust him or whether to be wary of her. In my research I have been trying to find a basis for these intuitive judgements.

"From the evolutionary theory of we predicted that male faces may signal physical dominance and that more dominant men would be more likely to be exploitative because they can be.

"We found that men with wider faces exploited trust more often to make money for themselves."

By this reasoning, you might David Tennant but Simon Cowell.

However, Michael Stirrat concludes with a word of caution:

"The results are important but we shouldn’t leap to the conclusion that wider-faced men are bad. They were exploitative in our games, but in other games the wider faced men were more likely to sacrifice their money to enforce good behaviour. This is ongoing research and it is difficult to draw any big conclusions, but what is true is that wider faced, more robust have the capacity to choose to be society's criminals or society's police."

Explore further: Impact of domestic violence on women's mental health

Related Stories

Mirror mirror (w/ Video)

Aug 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Women are attracted to men who look like a masculine version of them, according to a new study.

Macho men are seen as bad choice for long-term love

Aug 08, 2007

Women see ‘masculine’ men as unsuitable long-term partners, new research suggests. Conversely, the psychologists from Durham and St Andrews Universities found that men with feminine facial features are seen as more committed ...

Promises come at a price

Jun 30, 2009

Be careful what you promise people. You are not just obliging yourself to keep your promises; other people will hold you to account for them as well. Dutch-sponsored researcher Manuela Vieth investigated how the behaviour ...

Recommended for you

Online illusion: Unplugged, we really aren't that smart

9 hours ago

The Internet brings the world to our fingertips, but it turns out that getting information online also has a startling effect on our brains: We feel a lot smarter than we really are, according to a Yale-led study published ...

People in MTV docusoaps are more ideal than real

9 hours ago

More midriff, cleavage and muscle is seen in MTV's popular television docusoaps such as The Real World, Jersey Shore or Laguna Beach than in the average American household. Semi-naked brawny Adonises and even more scantily ...

Score! Video gamers may learn visual tasks more quickly

9 hours ago

Many studies show that video gamers perform better than non-gamers on certain visual tasks, like managing distractors and identifying targets, but a small new Brown University study provides gamers with some ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.