Women can "tell a cheating man", but not vice versa

Reuters' Tan Ee Lyn: "Women can tell with some accuracy whether an unfamiliar male is faithful simply by looking at his face, but men seem to lack the same ability when checking out women, according to an Australian study published on Wednesday."


  1. Quote from the article:
    “Men, on the other hand, seemed to have no clue. They tended to perceive attractive, feminine women to be unfaithful, when there was no evidence that they were, the scientists noted.”
    Sounds more like wishful thinking to me.

  2. So… how terrible is this study? If they want to make statements like “Men have no clue”, shouldn’t they at least had put forward something about men’s assessment of other men’s faces?

    Because it seems like the exact same bias going both ways, it’s just that in men’s case the features actually have a (small to moderate) correlation. Which means that they were wrong more than they were right, I’d imagine.

    Eh, probably just a case of poor reporting – I doubt the original study would make such a silly claim.

  3. The interesting bit to me is that women and men kind of used the same determining factor: women said more “masculine” guys were more likely cheaters, men said more “feminine” women were more likely cheaters. Women just happened to be RIGHT about their assumption. Which tells me the interesting correlation is more about “masculine appearance” and infidelity, rather than women’s ability to judge it.

    1.  Chris Rock famously once said, “A man is as faithful as his options.”  The women were identifying men that they would consider being unfaithful with.  If they would consider being unfaithful with a man, then other women had too – thus broadening the man’s options and increasing the likelihood that the man had cheated in the past.

    2. A female friend with a very handsome rugby player brother described his whole crowd of friends as “guy whores.” 

  4. Corrected headline: [Some] women can tell a cheating man just by looking at them [at a rate slightly higher than chance].

    1. While science journalism is a popular theme for internet comics, this one really nails the news filtration hierarchy.

  5. Correlated to self reported sexual histories;  In other words, men who were more masculine looking tended to REPORT that they were more unfaithful.

    1. Furthermore, I would suggest it’s relatively easier for a man with a positive attitude to cheating to regulate how masculine he looks. It’s really not that hard to increase muscle volume and grow a bit more facial hair (depending on your starting point of course) compared to the near impossibility of naturally increasing typical feminine traits such as fuller lips, wider hips, bigger eyes etc.
      What I am suggesting is that the man intent on cheating wouldn’t have too much difficulty building up a rugged masculine look if he so wished and as such certain features may have become a tell-tale sign of ‘cheater’. Whereas the equivalent female would just have to get her conquests with whatever she’s got. Therefore feminine traits as such big hips cannot be realistically be considered the look of a ‘cheater’.

      1. I must beg to differ! Putting on muscle mass takes WORK. Or hormones. Or genes that lead themselves to building muscle. Fuller lips, wider hips, and bigger eyes can be accomplished with through the cunning use of makeup and clothing choices. There is the additional issue, of course, of why we associate those particular traits with femininity and implicitly pressure women to manufacture them, but that is another argument for another day. 

  6. Small data set of self reported sexual activity = Science Fail
    Not only is it impossible to infer meaningful results from such a small data set, there is nothing to ensure the entire data set is not completely false. Further, extrapolating a data set of 189 Aussies to make general statements which encompass the whole of humanity is laughable.Men tend to play up their sexual exploits while women tend to downplay them. With a set of 189 data points, three or four lies would produce statistical variance significant enough as to render the study questionable at the very least.

    One thing we do know for certain – people will lie.

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