Men can identify which women will more likely be unfaithful by looking at their photos.
In the study conducted by Dr. Samantha Leivers and her team at the University of Western Australia and published in the journal PLOS ONE, 43 male participants were showed photographs of 34 unknown, heterosexual women, and were then asked to pick which woman would most likely be more faithful in a relationship.
The women selected for the photographs were between 20 years old and 42 years old and were asked beforehand whether or not they have strayed while in a relationship. Seventeen pairs of photos were presented to the participants.
In each pair, there was one woman who claimed to have never cheated on her partner while the other woman admitted to cheating at least twice.
The researchers found that the participants were 55 to 59 percent accurate on their judgment of the women's faithfulness. Leivers said that the fact that the participants' judgment accuracy yielded such results was a surprising and interesting find.
"We don't expect them to be 100 percent accurate when they are literally just looking at someone's face for a few seconds," explained Leivers. "The fact that they're showing any accuracy from this limited information is pretty cool."
The team used the same experiment setup on a new group of 60 participants and found the results were more or less the same. These findings suggest that men can determine a woman's trustworthiness based on appearance alone with satisfactory accuracy.
"When asked to choose the more faithful women from pairs of images, men chose the woman who had not reported any [cheating behavior] significantly above chance level," Leivers said.
Previous research to test how accurate men and women were at judging the faithfulness of the opposite sex through rating photographed volunteers showed that women had better judgment accuracy than men. The researchers conducted the study in an attempt to test whether human males have evolved to have means to detect potential cheaters among women and prevent being tricked by future partners.
"In summary, we show for the first time that men's judgments of faithfulness from images of women can contain a kernel of truth when they are able to directly compare images," Leivers said.
It is still unclear, however, what cues the participants used to tell which woman was unfaithful. While other studies have said that attractiveness was one factor, the team was not able to draw that conclusion from the findings. Further research will be needed to expand on this subject.
Photo: Hernán Piñera | Flickr