Men with wide faces trigger selfishness in others


2013-09-23 14:30

Men with wider faces make others behave more selfishly, according to a series of new studies published in the journal PLOS ONE.

According to researchers from the University of California, Riverside, their findings support two previous studies showing that men with wider faces tend to lead more financially successful companies – and they are also more likely to lie and cheat.

The researchers conducted a series of four studies, each of which involved between 131 to 201 participants.

In the first study, they found a link between facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) and general self-interest, or selfishness.

For the study, the men were asked to perform a "resource allocation task" in which they were to imagine themselves making economic decisions that would affect both them and an anonymous partner, who would be making the same choices for themselves.

The results showed that men with higher facial width-to-height ratios behaved more selfishly when dividing resources between themselves and the anonymous partner.

"Specifically, men with greater facial ratios were less likely to be characterized by prosocial preferences, and more likely to choose allocations that maximized their own self-interest," explained the study authors.

They added that supplementary analyses indicated that men with higher facial width-to-height ratios sought to secure “as many resources as possible for themselves as opposed to competitively maximizing the difference between their own allocation and that of their counterpart."

The same resource allocation task was conducted in subsequent studies, but they were examined under different perspectives.

The study authors said that, overall, those with higher facial width-to-height ratios behave more selfishly when interacting with men with wider faces – and that this selfish behavior also triggered selfish behavior in others.

SOURCE: Self-Fulfilling Prophecies as a Link between Men’s Facial Width-to-Height Ratio and Behavior, published in PLOS ONE, 16 September 2013.