A new study has found that when people encounter men with wider faces, then they are more likely to act selfishly which in turn makes others to behave selfishly.
Michael P. Haselhuhn, an assistant professor of management at UC Riverside's School of Business Administration, said that the results clearly show that this behaviour is also socially driven, not just biologically driven.
Haselhuhn along with Elaine M. Wongpredicted found in 2011 that men with wider faces tend to lead more financially successful firms, while in 2012 they found that men with wider faces are more likely to lie and cheat.
The work also showed the importance of appearance when selecting a CEO, especially as CEOs increasingly become the face of organizations.
The recent research which was a series of four studies involved between 131 to 207 participants each.
In the first study, the researchers established a relationship between facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) and general self-interest, demonstrating that men with higher fWHRs behaved more selfishly when dividing resources between themselves and a partner.
In two subsequent studies, the researchers examined the same decisions from the partner's point of view and showed that partners change their own behaviour based on a target's fWHR.
In the final study, they showed that the partners' behaviour, based on the targets' fWHR, leads the target to act in ways consistent with the partners' expectations. This shows a link between men's fWHR and behavior, which otherwise may be attributed to biological factors, but is also a function of social responses to men's facial structure.
The study is published in the journal PLOS ONE.