Women see masculine men as unsuitable long-term partners, new research suggests. Conversely, the psychologists from Durham and St Andrews Universities found that men with feminine facial features are seen as more committed and less likely to cheat on their partners.
The study, published in the current edition of Personality and Individual Differences, asked over 400 British men and women to judge digitally altered pictures of male faces made to look more masculine or feminine. The participants were asked to predict personality traits including sexual behaviour and parenting skills based on what they saw.
Men with masculine faces, with features such as a square jaw, larger nose and smaller eyes, were classed as significantly more dominant, less faithful, worse parents and as having personalities that were less warm, compared to their feminine counterparts, who had finer facial features with fuller lips, wide eyes and thinner, more curved eyebrows.
The scientists say the research, partly supported by the Medical Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council, backs up earlier research about masculinity and perceptions of personality and gives further insight into what people see in others when choosing potential partners. It will also advance studies in areas like evolutionary biology, fertility and genetics and offer new insights for relationship counselling and psychology.
Lead author, Dr Lynda Boothroyd, a lecturer with Durham Universitys Department of Psychology, commented: This research shows a high amount of agreement between women about what they see, personality wise, when asked to judge a book by its cover.
They may well use that impression of someone to decide whether or not to engage with that person. That decision-making process all depends on what a woman is looking for in a relationship at that time of her life.