By: Chris O'Shea
Attention wide-faced dudes: You're freaking everyone out. You don't have to take our word for it, almost each year there arrives more evidence that the bigger someone's face is, the worse kind of person they are. So how about doing us all a favor and just smushing things together or something. Maybe do that duck face that women do when taking selfies? You have to do something, even if science says it doesn't matter. They claim those with wide faces are just crappy people, and there's nothing that can be done about it.
Proof of such fear can be found in the work of two researchers at the University of California — Michael Haselhuhn and Elaine Wong — who have published several papers on the evilness of fat faces, thus becoming the scientific leaders on the subject of the perceived and actual villainy wide-faced guys.
The duo's first foray into the exploration of face size related to morality, which was back in 2011, showed that, contrary to popular belief, physical traits CAN impact how someone acts. Haselhuhn and Wong discovered this by asking study participants to give out resources to others and observed a connection in the facial structure of the participants with how much they shared.
"While researchers have identified social and cognitive adaptations that support ethical behaviour, a consensus has emerged that genetically determined physical traits are not reliable signals of unethical intentions or actions," they explained in their resulting paper, "Bad to The Bone: Facial Structure Predicts Unethical Behaviour" (That title is a true testament to scientist humor, by the way). "Challenging this view, we show that genetically determined physical traits can serve as reliable predictors of unethical behaviour if they are also associated with positive signals in intersex and intrasex selection. Specifically, we identify a key physical attribute, the facial width-to-height ratio, which predicts unethical behaviour in men."
In other words, they found scientific evidence that men with wide faces acted more selfishly and are more likely to cheat for personal gain than those with thinner faces.
In Haselhuhn and Wong's most recent study, which was published last month in the journal Plos One, the two found that it's kind of our fault for the immorality of wide-faced guys because we innately assume them to be bad dudes and treat them as such, essentially creating a cycle that can't be broken. For this new study, Haselhuhn and Wong told participants about how their partner's had given out resources before they got to make their decisions. As PopSci notes, the wide face cycle then reared its ugly head. "How the 'partner' treated the participant was based on results from two of the previous experiments the researchers had conducted — either the participants were treated as if they were a wide-faced man (whom people perceived as selfish) or as a more narrow-faced man (whom people treated with cooperation). The researchers found that treating someone selfishly led them, in turn, to act more selfish."
There really is no solution, other than wide faced men leaving everyone else alone. Maybe they could take up residence on a deserted island. We honestly have no idea. One thing we do know? Our unnatural fear of Danny Devito has finally been explained.
[Pic via Flickr - stuartpilbrow]