What Big Eyes You Have
Study shows facial features may reveal personality
By: Fiona Macrae
It is one of the main questions on an amorous young man’s mind – how can you tell whether a girl might be interested in a one-night stand without having to waste precious time on small talk?
Similarly, an eligible young lady might be keen to know whether the chap chatting her up is the type who’s ready to settle down and raise a family.
It turns out that the answers have been staring them in the face.
A study suggests that we can judge a person’s attitudes towards relationships simply by studying his or her features.
Men looking for a quick dalliance should set their sights on the doe-eyed look typified by actresses Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci.
And women on the hunt for a husband should give macho types such as Bruce Willis the cold shoulder and instead seek out men with the soft features of Leonardo DiCaprio, according to a team from Durham University.
The researchers asked 700 men and women how they felt about one- night stands.
The volunteers were then asked to judge the attitude of others to casual sex from passport-style photographs and rate their attractiveness.
Up to 72 per cent correctly identified others’ attitudes towards sex more than half the time, the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour reports.
The study also showed that men find women who are interested in casual sex attractive, while women are drawn towards less promiscuous types.
Interestingly, this held true even when the volunteers couldn’t work out the person’s attitudes towards relationships.
Researcher Dr Lynda Boothroyd said: “Even although the men couldn’t always tell which women were more strongly interested in short-term sex, they were very strongly attracted to the women who were.
“The women were very strongly attracted to the guys who were interested in commitment.”
Macho men with square jaws, prominent noses and small eyes were seen as being more open to casual sex than males with softer features.
“The perfect feminine features in a women are big eyes and a smallish jaw,” said Dr Boothroyd.
“Lindsay Lohan, Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci have these.”
It is thought the phenomenon has its roots deep in evolution, with men who sow their wild oats being more likely to pass on their genes to the next generation.
Women, on the other hand, gain little from being free with their favours and prefer stable types who will provide for them and their children.
Co-researcher Dr Ben Jones, of the University of Aberdeen, said: “Lots of studies have shown that people can judge a lot about a person from their face, including things like health and even some personality traits like introversion.
“But this really is the first study to show that people are also sensitive to subtle facial signals about the type of romantic relationships that others might enjoy.”
Previous research by Dr Boothroyd has shown that women perceive macho types as being cold, domineering and unfaithful. In contrast, feminine-looking men are regarded as warm, caring and committed – and ideal father material.