Study Says Mens' Faces Show Just How Likely They Are to Cheat

A new study shows a link between first impressions and cheating history.
Jessica Miley

Women can tell if a man will cheat on them before they even speak to them, according to researchers from the University of Western Australia.


In a study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, asked white self-reported heterosexual participants to judge the facial features of 189 white adults from photographs taken as part of previous research. 293 men and 472 women examined pictures of women and 299 men and 452 women judged images of men, rating them on a scale of one to 10 how likely they thought each person was to be unfaithful and researchers found that both men and women were able to identify men with a history of infidelity from a lineup of mugshots.

Masculine faces linked with cheating 

The people in the mugshots had already revealed any cheating behavior and whether they had ever “poached” a partner from someone else. Their images had also already been rated for attractiveness, untrustworthiness and how or feminine or masculine they looked.


The results clearly showed that both men and women gave higher scores to the images of men who had self-reported cheating or poaching. However, there was no discernible correlation between the high-rating women's images and their unfaithfulness. The scientists proposed several theories as to why the men's faces might give away their unfaithfulness. One key feature is how masculine face appears. The researchers suggest that being wary of hyper-masculine features such as strong brow ridge, strong jaw and thinner lips could be related to evolution and women's ability to spot an unreliable partner.

But they stressed that the results of the study are modest and that people should use other ways to pick trustworthy partners than looks alone. The research team said they were surprised there were no results related to the review of the women's images.

Bearded men look angrier

But one factor at play could be the studies requirement to self-report instances of cheating something that women may be reluctant to do so. Another recent study may also help shed some light on the idea that more masculine faces are easier to obtain information from.

Most Popular

According to Australian researchers, men with beards appear more angry and emotional than clean-shaven men but also appear more social. The study asked participants to quickly examine a random set of images that showed men in four different poses; clean-shaven and displaying happiness; clean-shaven and displaying anger; bearded and displaying happiness; and bearded and displaying anger.

The study found the participants were much quicker to identify anger in the bearded men than the non-bearded men. In a follow-up survey the bearded men were rated more highly for prosocial behavior when they were smiling than smiling non-bearded men. All this research needs further investigation before any hard truths can be taken away but it seems there are some interesting links between supposedly ‘masculine’ faces and our initial impressions of people.

message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron