Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Windows to the Soul of a Woman
Fascinating... From Telegraph.co.uk By Kate Devlin, Medical Correspondent Last Updated: 6:43PM GMT 11 Feb 2009 Women's faces 'are windows to the soul' Women's faces really are the windows to the soul while men's are closed books, a new study suggests. Researchers found that volunteers could tell if women were lucky, religious or trustworthy, simply by looking at them. But studying men's faces gave no hint as to their character, the study found. The experiment was designed to test the theory that physical appearance can reveal essential truths about the person within. Scientists are torn as to whether certain traits can be linked to how someone looks. Some believe the expectations of society can make us act differently, for example encouraging blondes to be more dizzy. The researchers asked 1,000 people to send in photographs of themselves and fill in a detailed questionnaire about their personality and beliefs. The team then isolated those who described themselves as strongly in one camp or another on four key aspects of their character and conflated the photographs into composite faces. More than 6,500 people then logged on to a website to guess which set of faces were linked to which personality feature. The findings show that they were able to identify lucky women 70 per cent of the time. They were even more accurate about which women were religious, correct 73 per cent of the time. And although the score for identifying trustworthiness was lower, at 54 per cent, the researchers described it as "statistically significant". The only woman's face which they did not identify correctly was of those who thought of themselves as funny. However, men's faces do not reveal as much of their true character, the findings of the study, reported in New Scientist magazine, suggest. The volunteers did not guess any of the faces correctly, only identifying the lucky face 22 per cent of the time. Richard Wiseman, from the University of Hertfordshire, and Rob Jenkins, from Glasgow University, who carried out the study, said that there were a number of reasons for the results. "Perhaps female faces are simply more informative than male ones. "It could also be that the men who sent us their portraits were less insightful when rating their personalities or less honest. "Or perhaps the women were more thoughtful when selecting the photographs they submitted." Studies have previously shown that people thought of as good looking were also more likely to be considered outgoing, powerful, intelligent and healthy. Researchers have also found that people with wider faces are both more likely to be aggressive and to have higher levels of testosterone, the male sex hormone, in their bodies. Although people can conform to behaving according to how they look, others can confound expectations, scientists warned. One study showed that baby-faced boys were more likely to be argumentative and aggressive and to grow up to be academic high achievers.