Can women sniff out a cheating man? A small new Australian study suggests that women can detect whether or not an unfamiliar man is the faithful type just by looking at his face.
Men, however, weren't able to detect the same in women.
This is "the first evidence that faithfulness
judgements, based solely on facial appearance, have a kernel of truth," the researchers write in the paper, published Tuesday, in the journal Biology Letters. "It seems remarkable that such impressions have any accuracy at all, given how poor accuracy is even with extensive behavioral information."
The team recreated 68 university students, 34 men and 34 women, to score photographs of 101 men and 88 female faces. Subjects rated how masculine or feminine the faces were, whether or not they thought each person was attractive, and how likely each was to be a cheater. In the group of images, taken in 2005, half of the subjects admitted to being cheaters.
The female subjects judging the pictures were better able to identify whether or not a man had been unfaithful in the past, which the researchers say is linked to how masculine his face was, not by whether or not he was considered attractive.
Men were less successful, guessing wrong 77 percent of the time when identifying whether or not someone was faithful. Women answered wrong 38 percent of the time.
Men also associated a woman's attractiveness and femininity with being unfaithful, although the researchers cited that there is no evidence this is actually true.