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Psychol Sci. 2012 Jul 1;23(7):718-22. doi: 10.1177/0956797611435133. Epub 2012 May 23.

Face structure predicts cooperation: men with wider faces are more generous to their in-group when out-group competition is salient.

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  • 1University of St Andrews, St Mary’s Quad, St Andrews, KY16 9AJ, Fife, Scotland, United Kingdom. michael@perceptionlab.com

Abstract

Male facial width-to-height ratio appears to correlate with antisocial tendencies, such as aggression, exploitation, cheating, and deception. We present evidence that male facial width-to-height ratio is also associated with a stereotypically male prosocial tendency: to increase cooperation with other in-group members during intergroup competition. We found that men who had wider faces, compared with men who had narrower faces, showed more self-sacrificing cooperation to help their group members when there was competition with another group. We propose that this finding makes sense given the evolutionary functions of social helpfulness and aggression.

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