Facial features can be clues as to whether a member of the opposite sex is after a one-night stand
or something more permanent, scientists say.
On men, a square jaw, large nose and small eyes are more likely to betray the look of lust than of love. On women, the give-away features tend to be wide eyes and large lips, a la Angelina Jolie. The Durham University-led research said women found men with softer features more likely to opt for commitment.
But while men can judge whether a woman is footloose-and-fancy-free, there was no common facial detail to explain it.
About 700 heterosexuals took part in the survey carried out by Durham, St. Andrews and Aberdeen universities.
In one study, 72 percent of the 153 participants correctly identified the sexual attitudes of a group of men and women in their 20s after being shown photographs or facial images.
Published in the journal "Evolution and Human Behavior", the research also showed that women who were open to short-term sexual relationships were usually seen as more attractive.
Women were usually interested in men who appeared to be more likely to want a long-term relationship. The research tended to confirm earlier findings which found that women see masculine men as more likely to be unfaithful and worse at parenting. The men and women also tended to opt for complete opposites.
Lynda Boothroyd, from Durham University's Psychology Department, said: "This shows that these initial impressions may be part of how we assess potential mates when we first meet them.
"These will then give way over time to more in-depth knowledge of that person as you get to know them better, and may change with age."
Ben Jones, from the University of Aberdeen's Face Research Lab, said: "Lots of previous studies have shown that people can judge a lot about a person from their face, including things like health and even some personality traits like introversion, but this really is the first study to show that people are also sensitive to subtle facial signals about the type of romantic relationships that others might enjoy."