If you are concerned your partner might be cheating on you, look closely at his face.
A man’s face may display clues on whether he has been unfaithful or stolen someone else’s partner.
But, researchers found, women’s faces don’t provide any signs of infidelity.
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A man’s face may display clues on whether he has been unfaithful or stolen someone else’s partner. But, researchers found, women’s faces don’t provide any signs of infidelity
When 751 men and women were shown pictures of male faces in a study, almost one in five were able to predict if that man would cheat or get together with someone in a relationship.
It helps women be wary of potential partners who are least likely to help raise a family.
Men, meanwhile, benefit from knowing those peers who may be planning to steal their wife or girlfriend.
The predictions were not always right but came in above the odds of getting it right through chance.
The key clue seems to be masculinity, as men with manly faces are more likely to pursue no-strings sex and have multiple partners.
Perhaps surprisingly, however, better looking men were no more likely to steal someone else’s partner.
The study, from the University of Western Australia, states: ‘From an evolutionary perspective, there are significant reproductive costs associated with having an unfaithful partner.
‘Both sexes risk losing valuable resources or even one’s mate to a competitor. In addition, men also risk being cuckolded and investing their resources in a genetically unrelated child.’
Our caveman past may be to blame for our ability to identify an untrustworthy man. At that time, men needed to spot rivals so they were not providing scarce food and protection to children fathered by another man instead of their own.
Cavewomen might have lost an important partner if his head was easily turned and he ran off with someone else.
To test if we have indeed evolved to spot untrustworthy men, researchers presented people with 100 photographs of men.
They were asked to rate them on a 10-point scale for being ‘unfaithful’.
The pictures were of men who had already provided information on their past infidelity.
The study results show both men and women successfully singled out those men who were untrustworthy with a success rate better than chance. Among individuals, 14 to 18 per cent got it right with above-chance accuracy.
Photographs of the men’s faces had previously been rated by other people for their masculinity, attractiveness and trustworthiness.
The results show that men and women were more likely to judge men with masculine faces as being unfaithful, and that this was likely to be correct.
The study states: ‘Male masculinity signals men’s tendency to adopt short-term mating strategies, with more masculine men having more sexual partners and having more positive attitudes towards uncommitted sex and multiple matings.’
When 751 men and women were shown pictures of male faces in a study, almost one in five were able to predict if that man would cheat or get together with someone in a relationship
It has been suggested that more attractive men are more likely to cheat, as other women will try to ‘lure’ them away. But the study, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, did not find that to be the case.
How ‘untrustworthy’ someone’s face appeared was also not found to be important.
Researchers also asked men and women to predict how likely women in photographs were to be unfaithful, but they did not manage to do this.
That may be because women with feminine faces are not thought to be more likely to cheat, so any facial clues are less obvious.
The study did not find people could judge men’s faces with high accuracy however, and the study concludes that ‘we should not rely on our first impressions to make diagnostic judgements of unfaithfulness in everyday situations.’
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