Love at First Sight

Ever wondered why you’re attracted to certain guys? According to a recent study, at least a few of the answers are face value – quite literally! At least one British research source claims that women can tell a lot about a guy, just by looking at him. In other words, love at first sight!

Apparently, evolution has programmed females to recognize males who are interested in procreating as well as those who are looking for a quick fix. Depending on where you are in your life (looking to settle down or looking to have fun), you’ll be more likely to choose one over the other.

So how do you tell the difference? It seems the ability is innate!

Researchers studied a group of 39 men, ages 18 to 33. Each man was shown 10 pairs of photographs and silhouettes, one of an adult and the other of an infant, and asked to rate their preferences. Meanwhile, their saliva was tested to determine testosterone levels. Then, women were shown photos of the men and asked to rate them on multiple qualities – including how attractive they found each man.

“This study suggests that women are picking up on facial cues that are perhaps related to paternal qualities,” said lead study author, James Roney, a University of California at Santa Barbara psychologist. “The more they perceived the men as liking kids, the more likely they could see having a longer-term relationship.”

On the other hand, researchers found that women can also look at men’s faces and tell which of them have the highest testosterone levels. These “masculine” or “rugged” types turn out to be just the kind of guys ladies would want for a fling.

So what features scream cad and what features say dad?

A prominent jaw and a heavy beard were often associated with high testosterone levels. However, it’s unclear just what about the men’s faces revealed an interest in children. One researcher guessed it may be related to a gentler face, perhaps a bit more rounded, while another suggested it may be linked to expression. This opinion, he explained was based on a smaller experiment done after the initial study. Five grad students were asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 7 whether the men in the photos the women saw looked happy or angry. Though the men were told to have a neutral look on their faces when the pictures were snapped, some apparently looked naturally happier than others. And, as it turned out, those were the men who had expressed more interest in kids.

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