There’s always that one guy who holds the door open for you as you rush into the dining hall, or asks you how you’re doing as you’re grabbing coffee at Starbucks, or the totally random guy on the T who isn’t just cute, but also just looks…trustworthy? Apparently, we all do. According to a study released by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Researach (ISR), women seem to think they CAN in fact judge a book by its cover.


“It’s remarkable that minor physiological differences lead people to pre-judge a man’s personality and behavior,” said Kruger, a research scientist at the U-M School of Public Health and the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR). “But even though physiognomy (the attribution of personality to faces) is thought to be a pseudoscience, a lot of people believe there’s a link between looks and personality.”

Men with highly masculine faces were judged more likely to get into physical fights, challenge their bosses, sleep with many women, cheat on their partners and knowingly hit on someone else’s girlfriend. Those with more feminine faces were judged to be more likely to be good husbands, be great with children, work hard at their jobs even though they didn’t like them, and be emotionally supportive in long-term relationships. “Men picked the less masculine-looking men to accompany their girlfriends on a weekend trip to another city,” Kruger said, “and both men and women would prefer the less masculine versions as dating partners for their daughters.”

That study along with another studies show that highly masculine faces are associated with riskier and more competitive behavior, higher mating effort and lower parenting effort in comparison with less masculine faces. Is it true? The study doesn’t say. And what about women? What do people associate with trustworthiness in a woman’s physical appearance? A lot an be said on the discrimination that women get in the work place for being too intimidating, fierce, to be maternal figures or too soft to be a top dog.

Take George Clooney, for example. How could you not trust that face?

Read more about the studies here.

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