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UCSB study finds physical strength, fighting ability revealed in human faces
Date:10/22/2008

tely protect them and their children. Men have a lot more experience with rough and tumble play and direct experience with fighting, yet women are just as good at assessing these variables. The authors also point out that neither men nor women fare as well in assessing women's strength. This is entirely expected because, ancestrally, inflicting violence was mostly the province of men.

"The next step is to isolate what it is in the face that indicates upper body strength," said Sell. He suggests that the correlation may lie in the heavier brow ridge and thicker jaw that result from increased levels of testosterone. "Many studies have been done on the effects of testosterone on the face. There's a good chance testosterone is involved in regulating the body for battle, and men with high testosterone those with a heavy brow ridge and thicker jaw developed bodies that were more prepared for combat."

"One reason we evolved the ability to perceive physical strength in the face may be that it's where we focus our attention when we look at someone," said Cosmides.

"Even if we are able to see someone's body, we always look at the face. It's so rich in social information what a person is thinking or feeling and adding the assessment of physical strength is a huge benefit. A person who is angry and strong offers a much greater threat than the person who is angry but weak."


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Contact: Andrea Estrada
andrea.estrada@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-4620
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert  

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