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Women Get Lots of Info From Male Faces 205

dtjohnson writes "Researchers at UC Santa Barbara have found that women have a remarkable ability to assess a man's testosterone levels and his interest in fathering children by looking at his facial features. Sixty-nine percent of the women were able to correctly judge a man's interest in having children merely by looking at cues on photograph's of his facial features. Saliva samples were also taken from each man in the study and tested for testosterone with a $2,000-a-pop test. The women in the study were able to correctly identify the men with the highest testosterone levels just by looking at their photographs. Of course, the study did not look at what men were able to tell about women by looking at photographs of their female body parts."
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Women Get Lots of Info From Male Faces

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  • by malsdavis ( 542216 ) * on Thursday May 11, 2006 @01:19AM (#15306309)
    How about using a proper source for this study?

    The summary (and the linked articles) are so sensationalised it is ridiculous.

    The BBC have a slightly better written article:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4751501.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    • "How about using a proper source for this study?"

      The problem with a "proper source" is that scientific journals are not available online and cost a shitload to subscribe to. Also, I don't want to wade through a scientific article; I want the meat of it. Like many people, I can recognize the sensationalism.
    • by Teach ( 29386 ) <graham AT grahammitchell DOT com> on Thursday May 11, 2006 @01:37AM (#15306354) Homepage

      I am God ...try prove otherwise.

      God doesn't leave out grammatically-significant prepositions.

      QED

      :)

    • Ya it sounds made-up. Right down to the "69%" part. --hehe they said 69.
    • You're right; when you're covering an important study from the University of California Santa Barbara, you really should cite a better source than ucsbdailynexus.com.
    • by FleaPlus ( 6935 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @04:04AM (#15306686) Journal
      How about using a proper source for this study?

      The summary (and the linked articles) are so sensationalised it is ridiculous.

      The BBC have a slightly better written article


      Better yet, here's the actual research abstract [royalsoc.ac.uk] and article [royalsoc.ac.uk] published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The article seems to be accessible without an institutional subscription, but just in case, here's the abstract text:

      Reading men's faces: women's mate attractiveness judgments track men's testosterone and interest in infants

      James R. Roney, Katherine N. Hanson, Kristina M. Durante, Dario Maestripieri

      This study investigated whether women track possible cues of paternal and genetic quality in men's faces and then map perception of those cues onto mate attractiveness judgments. Men's testosterone concentrations served as a proxy for genetic quality given evidence that this hormone signals immunocompetence, and men's scores on an interest in infants test were chosen as prima facie markers of paternal quality. Women's perceptions of facial photographs of these men were in fact sensitive to these two variables: men's scores on the interest in infants test significantly predicted women's ratings of the photos for how much the men like children, and men's testosterone concentrations significantly predicted women's ratings of the men's faces for masculinity. Furthermore, men's actual and perceived affinity for children predicted women's long-term mate attractiveness judgments, while men's testosterone and perceived masculinity predicted women's short-term mate attractiveness judgments. These results suggest that women can detect facial cues of men's hormone concentrations and affinity for children, and that women use perception of these cues to form mate attractiveness judgments.


      On a related note, this reminds me of research previously done linking finger-length ratios [google.com] with things like testosterone levels, sexual orientation, and male aggressiveness.
      • Hmm, it looks like the researches only tested woman for perception of these features. I wonder whether men would be as good?

        All the publicity makes this out as a kind of mate selection, battle of the sexes thing -- when there's nothing in this research to show that it isn't just that all humans are good at perceiving hormone levels and infant attentiveness.

        So why did they only use women in their perception sample group? Sheesh.
    • by Joen_w ( 909158 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @05:11AM (#15306799)
      >How about using a proper source for this study?
      How about a link to the study itself? http://primate.uchicago.edu/2006PROC.pdf [uchicago.edu]
    • The summary is indeed ridiculous.

      "Of course, the study did not look at what men were able to tell about women by looking at photographs of their female body parts."

      Of course they didn't, nay, COULDN'T look into that aspect. It would have to take into account the vast amounts of physical alterations that women have done to them these days, be it botox, a ton of makeup, boob-jobs, tramp stamps, nose jobs, etc. In that regard, it would be pretty difficult, if not impossible, to tell anything about one's "genes
    • Sixty-nine percent of the women were able to correctly judge a man's interest in having children merely by looking at cues on photograph's of his facial features.

      Wow, that's like... 7 in 10 instead of 5 in 10 you might expect to get from chance alone. Remarkable

  • Ok then (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fireman sam ( 662213 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @01:20AM (#15306313) Homepage Journal
    So what we have here is researchers have discovered what physical attributes of men women find attractive (whether they want short term or long term relationships). Just as it is known what physical attributes of women men find attractive.

    So women don't just want a "nice on the inside" type of man.
    • So women don't just want a "nice on the inside" type of man.

      Nothing in the article says this. Where are you getting this from? The study does not judge the relative importance of different drives in a woman. Perhaps, even though she is attracted to a certain type of man on a physical level, she will pick a man who has lots of money. Or treats her nice. Or badly, who knows, women are weird that way.

      My point being that you can't draw that conclusion from the evidence given.
  • by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @01:21AM (#15306317) Journal
    "Researchers [CC] at U Name It have found that women have a remarkable ability to assess a man's finance levels and his interest in making women feel good by looking at how much money he spends. Sixty-nine percent of the women were able to correctly judge a man's ability to buy them diamonds merely by looking at cues in his wallet. Spending samples were also taken from each man in the study and tested for wanton spending on women with a $2,000-a-pop test. The women in the study were able to correctly identify the men with the highest spending levels just by looking at their wallets. Of course, the study did not look at what men were able to tell about women by looking at photographs of their female body parts, though further study is being considered at several men's clubs around the country."

    • Of course, the study did not look at what men were able to tell about women by looking at photographs of their female body parts. . .

      Nor did it address those things men and women are able to tell about each other without so much as a glance.

      Which is more important, your testosterone level or the fact that you're an unfeeling lunk, a good-for-nothing and a layabout; her complaisance or the fact that she's an inconstant and judgemental control freak?
  • Acne, tounge hanging out, perspiration drops on forehead...
  • beards (Score:5, Funny)

    by mikesd81 ( 518581 ) <.mikesd1. .at. .verizon.net.> on Thursday May 11, 2006 @01:24AM (#15306324) Homepage
    And men with beards? What do they want?
  • Small sample size? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by presidentbeef ( 779674 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @01:28AM (#15306332) Homepage Journal
    A group of 29 undergraduate students hardly seems enough to be able to generalize the results to the entire female gender.
    • by Neil Blender ( 555885 ) <neilblender@gmail.com> on Thursday May 11, 2006 @01:57AM (#15306410)
      You ever hear of a one sample t-test? You can prove whether or not something is significant with only one sample! You don't even need something to compare it to! Oh, wait - no you can't. That's not what a one sample t-test is at all. Either way, you can do some amazing shit with statistics. Especially if you don't understand what you are doing.
    • by mano_k ( 588614 )

      Well, it's sad that this seems to be quite often the problem with psychological and sociological research. The researchers present groundbreaking results about the human nature and when you look at their methods you find the results are based one nothing more than random results from a much to small sample...

      The good old Cargo Cult Science [huji.ac.il]

      • by Surt ( 22457 )
        I think it's more of a conflict between the press presentation and an understanding of detailed statistics. When you get the press presentation, it says that women can tell a man's level of testosterone. When you read the statistics, you find that with a >95% confidence level, the researchers have concluded that the participant's ratings matched testosterone level better than random chance would allow, implying that at least some of the women were getting the answers right enough that they must have be
    • It's not the size that counts! It's how you use it!
    • A group of 29 undergraduate students hardly seems enough to be able to generalize the results to the entire female gender.

      Having lived in a household with 5 women, I can honestly say that 29 is about 24 too many unecessary samples.
  • we'll confirm what Maureen Dowd has always known: women can read men's minds!
  • Alarmingly women's attractiveness judgments specifically track both men's affinity for children and men's hormone concentrations, like him [film.org.pl]?
  • And (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Konster ( 252488 )
    Men can't tell what a woman wants by looking at a picture...or anything else, since women don't know what they want!
  • by pyrrhonist ( 701154 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @01:40AM (#15306361)
    Researchers at UC Santa Barbara have found that women have a remarkable ability to assess a man's testosterone levels and his interest in fathering children by looking at his facial features. Sixty-nine percent...

    Sorry, I just couldn't concentrate.

  • Did anyone else misread the headline? I could have sworn it said:
    Women Get Lots of Info From Male Feces

    Maybe I'm spending too much time on Fark...

  • I can usually tell a lot about a woman's desire to have children if I see certain body parts.
  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ebrandsberg ( 75344 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @01:50AM (#15306392)
    Women are able to judge someone with aggressive genes that can father a strong child, then pick a sucker to stand with her to raise them.
    • I personally think it goes more like this: Women first pick a masculine man with high testosterone levels, and then try and convert that same guy into the family man.

      So the women in the study were really looking at the pictures thinking "before" and "after".

      What this means for us nerds: Disguise yourself! Get a haircut. Don't shave so often, instead use more aftershave. Buy a leather jacket and boots, and wear them off a bit. Drink. Smoke. Go out. Once the woman finds you, she'll want to turn you back i

    • Re:Translation (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dis*abstraction ( 967890 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @04:15AM (#15306708)
      You jest, but some researchers think that's a very accurate description [economist.com]: "WHAT'S a girl to do when faced with the choice between a powerful action man who has great DNA but is likely to love her and leave her, and a carpet-and-slippers kind of bloke who will hang around and bring up the kids but may not be Mr Right in the genes department? Well, ideally, she should fool the latter into bringing up the former's children. And a piece of evidence that this is exactly what happens emerged this week from a research group led by Jan Havlicek of Charles University, in Prague."
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Old Slashdotter to young slashdotters: do not get saddled with a ready made family. Do not get in the situation of being financially responsible for an alpha's seed.

        When a single mother coworker hits on you ... then you not interested.
        When a female coworker tries to set you up with her single mother (friend/daughter/neighbor) ... then you not interested.

        Trust me and not your penis! Avoid these women like the avian flu. They'll stop f*cking you a month after the wedding. They will ruin your life and drain y
        • You poor naive soul. Every woman stops giving it up once you've gotten married.

          And while we're generalizing, every man that takes a wife or even a girlfriend has to divert energy away from what they want to attending to her needs seriously altering your life. There's also a vigorous sucking in the trouser area that occurs - unfortunately it quickly moves from where you want to somewhere in your wallet.
          • by DG ( 989 ) * on Thursday May 11, 2006 @09:23AM (#15307534) Homepage Journal
            Seriously, if you have to make major alterations to your lifestyle in order to keep your wife/girfriend happy, then you chose the wrong wife/girlfriend.

            Your signifigant other and you should share goals and lifestyles; you should click into each other's lives with little to no behavioural modification for either party.

            Your primary disagreements should be about *timing*, not philosophy - ie, you both want to do X, and the only real question is "when?". If you want X and she wants Y... problem.

            Note that I'm talking in broad strokes here. Both of you will have to modifiy little bits of your behaviour as "social grease" to help make it easier to get along. There is plenty of give and take in a good marriage. But the give and take should be over small stuff, not major life issues & choices.

            I was one of those guys who tried to overhaul his personality to fit the needs and wants of the Girl of the Moment, and that only ever led to tears. Once I decided to be me, and to find a girl that fit me the way I was (and vice versa) I met my wife and I've been blissfully happy (on the marital front at least) ever since.

            I think a lot of guys, particularly technical, goal-oriented guys, get focussed on "making the relationship work" and start making these big personal sacrifices to that end, thinking that it gets them points. It doesn't. If you have to make radical alterations to who you are in order to keep your girlfriend, then let her go and find one who likes you as you are.

            DG
            • ...this magical dope-smoking, playstation-playing, tech-mad, sex-loving female?
            • This advice is fine but not necessarily true.

              Enjoying a spouse openly, comfortably, and even vulnerably is certainly a trait of a successful relationship. However, a successful marriage is not built on enjoying each other and "being who you really are." Those are effects, not causes of a happy relationship, IMO.

              Most couple don't truly realize marriage is (in theory) a lifetime commitment. Here's the big secret nobody tells young couples: people change. You and your spouse are going to change dramatically over the course of your marriage, and there's a likelihood that unless you are careful, you will end up disliking each other in 30 years. The best you can hope for is that as each of you changes, the other will adapt to your new personality or have ability to tell you calmly that you are changing for the worse. I won't go into a long tangent about the requisites for changing together successfully, but I basically think deep mutual respect and completely honest communication are the biggest ingredients.

              Here's the other part of your sentiment that is slightly flawed. Perhaps you really need to change. Maybe you are an inconsiderate, arrogant asshole, and the only person who would date you is a meek little insecure person who will let you walk all over him/her. Maybe a partner is trying to change you for the better.

              But yes, I absolutely agree with you: being comfortable and open with your partner is absolutely essential. If you don't have that, it seems that you're missing the fundamental point of dating and marriage (at least for secular humanists). The most you can hope for in this life is to understand yourself and this world around you. By loving, trusting, living with and focusing all of your powers of observation and appreciation on this one person, maybe -- just maybe -- you will understand humanity, yourself, and this whole absurd universe a tiny bit better.

              That's my current theory at least. It will probably change next year.
              • I think we are in perfect agreement on the core concepts, but we seem to differ on the terminology.

                And maybe on this - yes, maybe you really are an arrogant asshole who NEEDS to change in order to become a better person. But that is YOUR responsibility, and you will have to realize the necessity and then actualize the change more or less on your own, or it'll never take.

                Because if your girlfriend is attempting to change you away from that sort of behaviour... flip it around to her perspective. Now SHE is br
      • And a piece of evidence that this is exactly what happens emerged this week

        Which justifies why EVERY sane man should quietly (ie, if you want your penis still attached the next morning, don't tell the wifey) get a paternity test of any kid "his" mate pops out.

        But then, the same traits a female looks for in the daddy-wimp also most likely include a low risk that the sucker will get such a test done.

        Not that the courts really care about the actual biological father when it comes to child support or ali
      • Re:Translation (Score:3, Interesting)

        by budgenator ( 254554 )
        There was a study pointed to by /. conducted in England that showed that a woman's first and last child was significantly less likely to be her husband's and that the lower her socio-economic class was the more likely as well, rate as high as 30% were found. The biological fathers were more likely to be of higher class than the husband.
  • That says, "Preganator".
  • by creimer ( 824291 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @02:00AM (#15306413) Homepage
    No wonder women are slapping me in the face all the time.
  • The study starts wonky. Men are show pictures of adults and babies and asked wich they prefer. Mmmm, okay. In what context? Could be they had a bunch of extreme pedo's on their hand.

    Rather then testing wich photograph someone likes better perhaps a better test to see if a male is truly intrested in being a father is to see if he is one? Baby pictures are cute. Crying shitting sex-ruining babies are not.

    As for what women find more attractive. Well wasn't there another study not so long ago that claimed tha

    • Why do women screw up?

      Let's assume that the theory is correct. Just because women can recognize from a face that some guy is a brawler and another guy is a nebbish, it doesn't mean that things play out perfectly afterwards. Maybe the nebbish doesn't want to raise the kid that came along 6 months after he met the girl.
  • W....t..f? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Schraegstrichpunkt ( 931443 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @02:48AM (#15306527) Homepage
    From the article:
    About nine out of 10 men chose the baby picture, roughly 12 percent expressed no interest in the baby picture, and the remaining subjects had a range of interest.

    Words cannot express my bewilderment.

    • More precisely, those words exactly represent the bewilderment of the journalist who was faced with a big bunch of numbers and told to write an article on them.

      J.

  • If this was true ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by subStance ( 618153 )
    ... then why are we so often told the female initiated divorce rate is so high (over 50% when I heard last. sorry no sources). If they were *that* good at picking spouses, then you'd think that you'd see more guys initiating divorces than women, right ?

    Am I missing something ? (and please spare the "women don't know what they want" comments ... more than a little harsh in my view).
    • over 50% isn't necessarily high when it comes to female initiated divorce considering that there should be around 50% male initiated divorce as well... now if it was 75% female initiated we'd have something to talk about.
    • TFA mentions that women are attracted to different features (testosterone or fatherlyness) depending on where they are in their reproductive cycle. The divorce rate can easily be explained by either women deciding to marry their favorite fuck in the hopes that he will or can be changed when needed, or by women marrying the paternal types and missing their single sex life.
  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Thursday May 11, 2006 @02:56AM (#15306546) Homepage Journal
    69% of women were able to correctly identify their husbands purely by the sound and odor of their flatulence.

    More at 6...
  • by TheBashar ( 13543 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @03:25AM (#15306610)
    "Sit on my face and tell me that you love me." --Monty Python
  • Heh (Score:3, Funny)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @03:39AM (#15306642)
    "Of course, the study did not look at what men were able to tell about women by looking at photographs of their female body parts."

    Well, I can look at a chick's beard and tell she's got lotsa testosterone.
  • by Aceticon ( 140883 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @04:35AM (#15306739)
    In another study it has been found that women are very able at reading a man's williness to have sex from his face.

    One participant in this study commented: "I just kept saying 'is willing' for each and every photo they showed me. In the end they told me i got every one of them right."

    Another participant said that "this was just too easy" and that "the hanging drewling tongues and the eager looks or their [the men in the photos] faces where dead giveways".

    Undisclousured sources told us of having overheard the main researcher on this study comment to his assistant that "this is our best scheme for getting girls phone numbers ever".
  • I think I need glasses. I read "Women Get Lots of Info From Male Feces". Can't they just ask?
    • > I read "Women Get Lots of Info From Male Feces".

      Man, I am SOOOOO glad I'm not the only one!! :)
  • Control group (Score:3, Informative)

    by Serious Simon ( 701084 ) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @05:17AM (#15306810)
    Which percentage of *men* were able to judge the men with the highest testosterone levels by looking at the photographs? I would not be surprised if guessing this by looking at someone's physical traits (jaw squareness, beard growth, ...) does not require some special capability specific to women.
  • Women have faces? Never noticed.
  • yeah.... guys looking at body parts of women can affect testorone levels in guys.

    anyone want to join in that testing?

    disclaimer: joining such a test group doesn't mean it'll be pictures of playboy models....
  • You don't need to look at the face, just the fingers [bbc.co.uk]. (Queue hundreds of Slashdotters staring at their hands)
  • by kria ( 126207 ) <roleplayer.carri ... om minus painter> on Thursday May 11, 2006 @08:34AM (#15307235) Journal
    As a woman, I am as insulted by the suggestion that I'm just out to find a man to be a good father as many men are at the suggestion that they just looks for big breasts and the like. This study wasn't looking at which men women would really date - it looked at their reaction to pictures. Whooptefreakingdo.

    Perhaps I'm spoiled by having a lot of intelligent female friends, but we're looking for someone to spend time with, not just someone to make a baby with.
    • "This study wasn't looking at which men women would really date - it looked at their reaction to pictures. Whooptefreakingdo."

      Getting your foot into the door has nothing to do with dating?

      "Perhaps I'm spoiled by having a lot of intelligent female friends, but we're looking for someone to spend time with, not just someone to make a baby with."

      TFA says you're actually looking for both, someone "to spend time with" but then somebody else to make a baby with on the side. None of your friends have ever done any
      • Even if not, I have my own anecdotal evidence to counter yours, a friend whose fiance cheated on him and got pregnant; he found out and yet she still managed to convince him to go through with the wedding.

        So when does he inherit her father's massive corporate holdings? We want the details.
    • I don't think that's the suggestion of the research. I suspect the research has more to do with long developed biological imperatives created by evolution over millions of years before this recent 100,000 year period of relative wealth and tranquility that allowed you to think about (and have) the time to spend with someone to spend time with. So it's interesting to see what odd skills women have developed in terms of the biological imperative, even if they aren't as relevant today. Those skills won't go
  • While our crack team of experts work to dig up the sketchy source of this disinformation, I would like to announce that researchers at U of Billco have discovered that men have a remarkable ability to assess a women's bitchiness levels and their interest in no-string-attached sex merely by looking at their facial features. 69 percent of men were able to correctly identify psychos based on early skin wrinkling and fake tans. Saliva samples were also taken from each woman in the study and tested for rabies
  • A reliable source has also noted that it's easy for anyone to spot a pedophile [thebestpag...iverse.net]. The abstract outlines its scienticfic validity:

    Ever see a guy at work or school who sends off creepy vibes, and you say to yourself "man, I know that guy rapes children"? Some mental health doctors claim that there's no way to tell a pedophile apart from anyone else just by looks alone. Wrong. I scoured the FBI's most wanted list and found some examples that confirmed my theory.

  • "Of course, the study did not look at what men were able to tell about women by looking at photographs of their female body parts."

    Manthought, "Boy! I'd like to stick my... ...mmm beer... ...football game on... ..oh man look at the hooters on her..."

    Slashdotmanthought, "I better get some Kleenex."
  • "The Naked Face" (Score:2, Informative)

    by SpaceToast ( 974230 )
    Not to turn the snark abruptly off, but Malcolm Gladwell wrote a hella good article about facial cues a few years ago: http://www.gladwell.com/2002/2002_08_05_a_face.htm [gladwell.com]

    I don't find any of this hard to believe. If we didn't subconsciously give away cues to our personalities, how would animation work? Or for that matter, acting? I think it's easy to be scared at just how much we do give away.

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