The bare-faced truth about big fat liars

 

Men with wide faces are more likely to lie and cheat than narrow-faced men but they seem to make better businessmen, according to a study that links facial features with a tendency to engage in unethical behaviour.

Scientists believe they have evidence to show that the width of a man's face relative to his facial height is an indicator of how powerful he feels and of his willingness to surreptitiously break social rules to achieve his goals.

The findings suggest that the width-to-height ratio of the face could be an ancient evolutionary signal of a man's aggressiveness when dealing with competitors, said Professor Michael Haselhuhn of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who led the study.

"Men's facial width-to-height ratio is generally a positive signal, evolutionary speaking. Specifically, when men compete for resources with other men, relative facial width is a strong sign of aggressive, self-interested behaviour," Professor Haselhuhn said.

"Importantly, we found evidence that the link between men's facial ratio and their unethical behaviour is caused by a sense of power. Men with larger facial ratios feel more powerful, and this sense of power then leads them to act unethically," he said.

The studies involved testing a group of 192 business students to see how readily they were prepared to either lie or cheat in order to gain an advantage over a competitor. Men with wider faces were about three times more likely to lie and about nine times more likely to cheat compared to narrow-faced men, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

"Our findings suggest that some men are simply predisposed to act unethically in order to achieve their goals. This has important practical implications, for example someone in the market for a new car may wish to peruse photos of salesmen online before visiting the dealership in person to increase the chances of finding an honest negotiator," Professor Haselhuhn said.

Further research involved examining the facial profiles of about 60 chief executives from the Fortune 500 companies. Those with wider faces were more likely to lead successful companies, suggesting that they are channelling their aggressive, unethical tendencies into something more constructive, he said.

"It's also important to recognise that men with larger facial ratios aren't all bad. The same feelings of power and aggression that spark unethical behaviour can be a net benefit if they are channelled correctly."

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Savvy Media Ltd: Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible