your CHEAT­ING Face

High fa­cial width-to-height ra­tio a clue to whether a man will cheat, SFU re­search sug­gests

Metro Canada (Vancouver) - - Front Page - David P. Ball

“Where cheat­ing is,” the poet Wil­liam Blake ob­served, “there is mis­chief there.”

But ac­cord­ing to a re­searcher in Bri­tish Columbia, it ap­pears that where cheat­ing is there might just be a short, wider-than-usual face.

Si­mon Fraser Univer­sity psy­chol­o­gist Brian Bird’s team of aca­demics at sev­eral uni­ver­si­ties stud­ied the sex drives and will­ing­ness to cheat on a part­ner of 314 young adult sub­jects across the coun­try.

“We found that those with shorter and wider faces on the whole tend to have a higher sex drive,” he told Metro, “and are more likely to re­port be­ing will­ing to be un­faith­ful to their part­ner.”

The idea that hu­man per­son­al­ity traits could have a link to the shape of their face might sound far-fetched, and Bird ad­mit­ted that 19th-cen­tury at­tempts to link things like crim­i­nal­ity or ag­gres­sion to skull shape were widely dis­cred­ited.

How­ever, about 10 years ago re­searchers be­gan to doc­u­ment cor­re­la­tions be­tween ag­gres­sive, dom­i­nant be­hav­iour and what they termed fa­cial width-to-height ra­tio (FWHR). The ra­tio com­pares the widest point on the face to the dis­tance from the up­per lip to the eye­brows.

And it turns out that more ag­gres­sive or dom­i­nant peo­ple tend, on the whole, to have a higher ra­tio.

“It’s all within an evo­lu­tion­ary frame­work where be­hav­iours like dom­i­nance and ag­gres­sion are thought to be adap­tive in some form for seek­ing mates,” Bird said. “So we thought sex drive and hu­man mat­ing psy­chol­ogy might also be im­por­tant within that frame­work.”

His team’s study was pub­lished in Archives of Sex­ual Be­hav­ior jour­nal, and was one of two pa­pers with 145 and 314 sub­jects re­spec­tively at two Canadian uni­ver­si­ties.

“It’s not like 90 per cent of peo­ple with this face will cheat … but there may be a ker­nel of truth to some­thing.”

But why would wider, high fw hr peo­ple tend to be more horny, un­faith­ful and ag­gres­sive?

“One idea is dur­ing crit­i­cal de­vel­op­ment pe­ri­ods, you have a rise or surge in testos­terone, which can in­flu­ence cra­nial fa­cial growth and also neu­ral cir­cuitry that hap­pens to re­late to be­hav­iour like ag­gres­sion.”

This Valen­tine’s Day, con­sider that while adul­tery may start in the head, it’s the face that could one day give it away.


Getty images

a sub­stan­tial fa­cial width-to-height ra­tio is as­so­ci­ated with in­fi­delity, say re­searchers.

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