“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
It’s a lesson we all know by heart, but when it comes to your facial structure, it turns out that there’s plenty on the surface to judge. In recent years, scientists have found evidence that your facial width-to-height ratio (FWHR) is actually a primary indicator of your behavior—it’s linked with aggression, financial success, and even your chances of breaking the law. So read on to learn what your own mug says about you. And for more great life advice, follow us on Facebook or sign up for our newsletter now.
You’re more sexually aroused.
A recent pair of studies, published concurrently in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, found that people with a wider FWHR had a more robust propensity for being sexually aroused. In the first study, researchers queried 145 heterosexual, romantically entangled Canadians about sex and sexuality. Following the line of questioning, the studiers photographed each participant against a controlled backdrop. Across the board, those who reported higher feelings of sexuality had higher FWHR—across both genders. For more on how to amplify your own libido, learn the 30 Ways That Exercise Boosts Your Sex Life.
You’re more likely to cheat.
The second study showed that a wider FWHR indicated a man might be more willing to commit adultery. (To learn why, read up on the 10 Biggest Reasons Why Men Cheat.)
According to a study in PLoS One, a wider FWHR is indicative of inherent aggression—or at least perceived aggression. “FWHR is part of an evolved cueing system of intra-sexual threat and dominance in men,” write the study’s authors. In other words, square-jawed, Hemingway-esque men are more likely to be “Alpha,” and tend to exhibit more domineering behavior. (The researchers were unable to produce any hard data on the FWHR regarding female aggression levels.)
You’re more likely to be a victim of a crime.
Affirming the whole notion that wide-faced men are more aggressive comes a study from Evolution & Human Behavior. The researchers analyzed the forensic data of hundreds of dead men, and they found that narrow-faced men were far more likely to die due to “contact violence,” or stabbing, strangling, bludgeoning.
You’re more likely to play contact sports.
A more superficial study of face shapes and athletes published in Evolutionary Psychology offered analysis of 2,000 male and 1,400 female faces from the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. The study found that, overall, athletes in high-contact sports—think boxing, not badminton—had wider FWHRs. For what it’s worth, boxing regularly is one of 20 Mistakes That Will Only Compound Your Stress.
You’re more likely to be a better athlete.
The quarterback, the point guard, the pitcher—you always think of the squared-jaw kid being preternaturally good at sports. And you’d be right! According to a study in Biology Letters, people with wider FWHRs are more athletically talented.
Analyzing the data of every player in the Japanese Professional Baseball League, researchers found that wide-faced players hit more home runs, had a higher slugger percentage, and had more runs-batted-in. (Here’s hoping this data helps you out with your fantasy baseball league next season.)
You’re more likely to be an openly intolerant person.
Openly is the key word here. Per a study in Psychological Science, men—and yes, this, like predictors for infidelity and casual sex, pertains to men only—with wide faces are more likely to be open about their preconceived racial prejudices.
“Not all people with greater fWHRs are prejudiced, and not all those with smaller fWHRs are non-prejudiced,” the study posits. “[The explanation could be that] men with greater fWHR may not care as much about what others think of them.”
You’re more likely to be successful.
One researcher from the University of Alabama took a look at 968 CEOs from financial services companies, examining corporate headshots, length of employ, profit, and the fiduciary policies under the CEO’s tenures. The study found that execs with wider FWHRs were overall more successful, having worked longer and earned more than their narrow-faced counterparts.
You have a stronger handshake.
A study in the American Journal of Human Biology found that men with wider faces had stronger grip strength than men with thinner faces—who, the researchers are sure to note, happen to be more conventionally attractive than their wide-faced peers. As such, the researchers suggest that men with wide FWHRs have stronger handshakes to compensate for the fact that they’re less attractive.
You’re more competitive.
According to research in the Proceedings of Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, men with a “[more] masculine facial structure show higher levels of circulating testosterone than men with less masculine faces.” (Note: “wider” = “more masculine.”) High levels of circulating testosterone, according to the researchers, indicate greater levels of competitiveness, greater levels of difficulty in accepting of defeat and, more importantly, a less likeliness to call it quits before a definitive loss.
You’re possibly unethical.
In a pair of jointly published studies, from the Proceeding of Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, researchers claim that FWHR “predicts unethical behaviour in men.” Specifically, a wider FWHR indicates that a man—again, just guys on this one—is more likely to willing delude a counterpart in financial negotiations.
You’re open to casual sex.
For the study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers found that a higher FWHR correlated with a more open attitude to casual sex. However, this correlation only exists among men.
You have more testosterone.
A wider FWHR means more testosterone—full stop. After all, higher testosterone levels typically lead to increased aggression, sex drive, and physical strength. (To learn more about the catch-all male gene, be sure to read the 10 Things You Need to Know about “Low-T” Therapy.)