June 04, 2012

Broad-faced men more co-operative in inter-group conflict

rom the press release:
The researchers gave University of St Andrews students money to play a game in groups where they could either benefit themselves and free-ride on the cooperation of others or they could risk their money to benefit their group. Half of the students were told that the outcomes of the game would be compared between St Andrews students, the other half that they would be compared with a rival university. The prediction was that the wider faced men would respond to the rivalry in the second condition and sacrifice their money for their own group.

The results of the study confirmed their hypotheses and turned the typical associations with facial width on their head: the more robust looking, wider faced men in the study were more self-sacrificing than other men.

"It was surprising that our predictions were confirmed," reports Dr. Stirrat. "When we mentioned Edinburgh University, our St Andrews participants with wider faces were more cooperative than the other men. When we didn't mention the rivalry, they were less cooperative than other men."
Related links between wide faces and aggression, trustworthiness, company performance and unethical behavior.

Psychological Science doi: 10.1177/0956797611435133

Face Structure Predicts Cooperation Men With Wider Faces Are More Generous to Their In-Group When Out-Group Competition Is Salient

M. Stirrat and D. I. Perrett

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.

Link

9 comments:

Fanty said...

Hm. So, what does it summ up now to?

Broad faced men are:

- give a damn about morale and rules
- are all criminals and cheat
- will stab you from behind if you turn your back on them
- Companies they rule are more successfull (most likely because these bosses give a damn about morale and laws)

BUT

They are very loyal to the group they are in if there is intergroup-competition.

Hm

This almost sounds contradictive to me.

In the same time it points to National-Socialists. A idiology wich preaches darwinism amoung civilisations but a warm family feeling inside the own civilisation.

Well ok.

But if I continiue thinking and compare this to Germany, then it doesnt work out.

Germany has a narrow faced (and long skulled) north and a broad faced (and short skulled) south.

The north was militaric more successfull and, up til even TODAY, is Germanys mainsource for soldiers. Wich seems to correlate to the idea of the narrow faced (and long skulled) "Warrior type" or "leader type" while the broad face would be the "commoner type"

The broad faced south is economical (and in science aswell) by far more successfull. This also corelates to the studies who claim companies led by broad faced bosses to be more successfull.

Fine, fine, but now the things that DONT fit:

Germanies broad faced south has the lowest crime rate and the highest morale and ethics level.
They are religious, stick to the laws and dont rebell to the rulers.

The narrow faced north are all atheists with no ethics and morale who are all criminals and rebell against the goverment.

So, where is the suposed treacherous/evil/rouge/backstabber behavior of broad faces and the suposed noble and heroic, lawfull-good (D&D term) behavior of narrow faces?

Back to my initial idea, that this behavior (be mean and unsocial to your rival but loyal to your kin) reminds me of "National Socialism". Well, the Nazis had been very successfull in the narrow faced north and totaly failed in the broad faced south. It again fails.

Lathdrinor said...

All of the traits linked to broad facedness thus far are components of competitiveness. Aggression, exploitation, deception, cheating, and finally the propensity towards winning in competitions against other groups - these are the traits of an individual motivated by the need to compete. Testosterone-to-estrogen level, mentioned in the first paper on broad facedness and aggression, and which has been linked to lateral cheekbones expansion during puberty, is still the hypothesis to beat, in my opinion.

Charles Nydorf said...

"Let me have men about me that are fat, sleek headed men who sleep o' night. Yon Cassius hath a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much, such men are Dangerous"
Shakespeare
"Julius Caeser"

chris_3721 said...

@Fanty

I think it just means that broad faced people are more competitive and how they compete depends on the context of the situation, i.e. intra-group competition vs inter-group competition.

Also long skulls and the narrow faces measured in this instance aren't necessarily the same thing. In this instance the facial height is measured from the top of the lip to the middle of the brow in between the eyebrows. A person can have a small facial height here yet still have a long skull as the measurement doesn't take forehead or chin length into account. For instance I am of Irish descent and I have noticed from photos that I, like most of my family, have rather larger and longer heads than what is average for most people yet my (mid)facial width is about twice that of my (mid)facial height, (which according to some of the studies I've read on this would put me in the upper percentiles of facial width. (That is I have a wider face than average.)) Interestingly enough, I am also very competitive.

Perhaps to make it clearer the researchers could have called it mid-facial width and height.

pconroy said...

@Chris,

I'm from Ireland and have a high forehead, but my face is very wide in the middle. In fact the Irish are supposed to have the widest malars in Europe.
The Irish also have some of the largest heads in Europe overall.

Fanty said...

"Also long skulls and the narrow faces measured in this instance aren't necessarily the same thing."

I know that its not the same thing.
But there is phenotypes where these things correlate.

There is Nordid (shining, good looking hero stereotype) for example, wich such a so called "gracile" phenotype wich combines narrow face with long skull. If it comes to Germany, this type is far more often in the North, specially the North-West (Northsea and border to Netherland) This type is usualy imagined blond haired.

And there is Alpinid (Wine merchant stereotype), a robust type, in wich broad face is combined with a short skull, resulting in a rather sherical head. SOmething that, in Germany, has its concentration in the Southwest and is usualy imagined brown haired.

Faelid (Berserker giant stereotype) again is a robust type in wich a broad face combines with a long head. For Germany this shows up in the North-West aswell. Something like you suggested.

Some claim, this combination (long skull but wide face) wouldnt be "natural" but a result of a mixture. As it was claimed, native hunter-gatherer Europeans would have been broad faced and short skulled, with heavy bones. While neolithic farmers and other late arrivers, would have been narrow faced and long skulled with gracile bones.

Onur said...

native hunter-gatherer Europeans would have been broad faced and short skulled

You mean Cro-Magnons? They were broad-faced and long-headed, not short-headed. I completely agree with Chris that head breadth and face breadth are two separate things and don't correlate. You clearly confused them in your first post however you seem to deny that now after Chris' warning.

eurologist said...

Fanty,

Even in your first post there are plenty of prejudices and contradictions that do not at all hold up to scrutiny.

Firstly, within the larger German area, during the bronze age and much of the iron age until classical Roman times, it was clearly the South that had a huge military superiority compared to the-then rather egalitarian and non-militaristic North (versus culturally but not necessarily linguistically Celtic areas in the South that, then, were a powerhouse within Europe at large). Even later, the Swedes invaded the North at will, and it really wasn't until the Prussians got fed up with all of this and created an intelligent military response capability set-up from scratch (including broad and non-discriminatory education, a well-planned nutrition base, and medical care). And this was not in small parts made possible by several centuries of previous economic success of the Nordic, secular, pan-national, business-and-trade-oriented Hanse alliance that fostered broader teaching of reading and writing and intricate knowledge of the law and business practices.

Speaking of which: yes, the North has a ~ >3,000 year "history" of criticism regarding religious and political authority - but that does not equate to a lack of ethical or moral understanding or practice (see the current German president). Quite the opposite: it is the "protestant work ethic" and a continued reflection on the balance between individual rights, powers, and contributions versus the greater goods of society that got the North to where it is, with much fewer resources available than typically available in the South.

Gregory76 said...

Fanty said

….

“Broad faced men are:

- give a damn about morale and rules
- are all criminals and cheat
- will stab you from behind if you turn your back on them
- Companies they rule are more successfull (most likely because these bosses give a damn about morale and laws)

BUT

They are very loyal to the group they are in if there is intergroup-competition.

Hm

This almost sounds contradictive to me.”

Not really: self-sacrifice for members of your own group but not for outsiders, to whom one is hostile.
Also, the use of word “all” is inaccurate for most of these generalizations

Fanty continues:

“In the same time it points to National-Socialists. A idiology wich preaches darwinism amoung civilisations but a warm family feeling inside the own civilisation.”

Yes, and most militaristic aristocracies (though more warmth and tenderness in modern times as result of softening of manners from industrial capitalism and, earlier, Christianity)

….

Fanty continues:

“But if I continiue thinking and compare this to Germany, then it doesnt work out.

Germany has a narrow faced (and long skulled) north and a broad faced (and short skulled) south.”

I think that there are many broad faces in the north, even among long-skulls, because of the Paleolithic element.
And as to the south, I suspect that things stand with the broad-faces as they stand with the short skulls, who were in the minority until recent centuries, probably being long-skulled, long-faced Nordics who developed shorter skulls and broader faces after harsh times (i.e. became Alpine) because these were better adapted to the cooler highlands of central Europes. Also, the Dinaric type is said to be more common in the south than true Alpine, and Dinarics are supposedly narrow-faced.

I think that the true explanation of the correlations is that the broad faces are mostly descendants of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers whereas the narrow facers are mostly decendants of Neolithic farmers, and that hunter-gatherers tend to be more warlike (to some extent) than farmers.

Fanty continues:

“The north was militaric more successfull and, up til even TODAY, is Germanys mainsource for soldiers. Wich seems to correlate to the idea of the narrow faced (and long skulled) "Warrior type" or "leader type" while the broad face would be the "commoner type"

The broad faced south is economical (and in science aswell) by far more successfull. This also corelates to the studies who claim companies led by broad faced bosses to be more successfull.”

The north was mostly part of Prussia, which had a militaristic tradition started and perpetuated by its monarchs, from the Great Elector onward.

Fanty continues:

“…but now the things that DONT fit:

Germanies broad faced south has the lowest crime rate and the highest morale and ethics level.
They are religious, stick to the laws and dont rebell to the rulers.

The narrow faced north are all atheists with no ethics and morale who are all criminals and rebell against the goverment.”

How do you measure their ethics? And what is your evidence regarding morale?
Insofar as these claims are true, they could be the result of the Catholic society of the south preserving more of an obedience to traditional authority, while the Deism of Frederick the Great may have made Prussia more secular-minded.
….

Fanty continues:
“Back to my initial idea, that this behavior (be mean and unsocial to your rival but loyal to your kin) reminds me of "National Socialism". Well, the Nazis had been very successfull in the narrow faced north and totally failed in the broad faced south. It again fails.”
The Nazis tended to be weak where traditional conservatism was strong, which was more in the south, and strong were socialists were strong, which was more in the north.