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Women Spot Cheaters By Gauging Masculinity Of Men's Faces, Study Suggests

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If a new study on sexual faithfulness were somehow to be transposed into Lady GaGa lyrics, the obvious choice would be the pop star's hit "Poker Face."

The study, conducted at the University of Western Australia and published in the journal Biology Letters, found women to be surprisingly adept at determining if a man has cheated simply by looking at his face. Men don't have the same ability.

For the study, researchers asked participants to look briefly at photos of faces of unfamiliar people of the opposite sex -- some of whom had a history of cheating on their partners. After viewing each photo, the participants were asked to rate the faces for certain traits, including trustworthiness and faithfulness.

What happened? Women correctly identified images of unfaithful men 62 percent of the time. Men correctly identified unfaithful women only 23 percent of the time.

"[Women] were able to look at a face and rate it for faithfulness or unfaithfulness," said evolutionary biologist Leigh Simmons, one of the authors of the study. "There was a correlation between their ratings for faithfulness and the actual behavior of the individuals they were rating. Now men couldn't do that, or the relationship was much weaker. On the other hand, the men were making mistakes a lot. One potential reason could be that males of most animals, including humans, tend to be less discriminating of their partners because they have less to lose if that partner is unfaithful."

Business Insider notes that the men in the study were likely to rate more attractive women as cheaters, a hunch which proved false. Women, meanwhile, based their decisions on the masculinity of a man's face, rather than attractiveness.

The authors conclude, "Our results demonstrate that accurate judgements of unfaithfulness can be made from the face alone, in the absence of behavioral cues."

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