A new study suggests that guys with wide faces are more likely to lie and cheat than their counterparts with narrower mugs. The explanation: power.
According to the Independent, scientists had 192 malebusiness students play a competitive game. Men with wide faces were three times more likely than skinny-heads to lie in order to win, and nine times as likely to cheat. This difference may have to do with a sense of dominance. Study author Michael Haselhuhn explains, "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."
You can see this effect in action in male orangutans, who actually get big, wide faces when they achieve alpha status. This guy looks so innocent, though.
So how does this relate to lying? Says Haselhuhn, "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." Haselhuhn actually suggests that people use his findings in their daily lives: "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." But this approach seems fraught with peril. Sure, some famous liars have wide faces — Arnold Schwarzenegger comes to mind. But others are quite slender of countenance — see, for instance, Anthony Weiner. And judging men by their face width might lead one to doubt one of history's most trustworthy men of all: Charlie Brown.
The Bare-Faced Truth About Big Fat Liars [Independent]