Whether it's intentional or not, sometimes we can't help but judge each other by our faces. But, whether those opinions are accurate or not, new research suggests there's even more to the eyes than meets the eyes: The soccer players who score the most goals tend to have some facial structures in common.
In the study, published recently in the journal Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, researchers collected images and stats for almost 910 soccer players (all male) from 32 countries. This information included the number of goals each player scored as well as how many fouls they committed. And, from the images, the researchers were able to calculate the width-to-height ratio of each player's face.
Their results showed that players with higher width-to-height ratios (wider faces, see here) scored more goals. But, they also committed more fouls. So, the authors suggest that, although these players might be more successful during a game, they might also cheat to get there. Previous research has correlated these faces with having more testosterone, a likelihood of acting aggressively, and a greater thirst for dominance and power.
The study isn't necessarily suggesting that your face makes you a winner. Instead, this is probably just one of many factors associated with — but not causing — advantages on the soccer field and aggressive behavior to boot. For instance, a player who has a higher testosterone level (and a wider face) and naturally acts in a more assertive manner might be more likely to be placed in a position in which those behaviors are reinforced. So, the testosterone may be responsible for both the faces and the behaviors.
But, it takes a lot more to score a goal than simply kicking it in, and fouls aren't the most direct measurement of aggressive behavior. There's a lot of speculation going on here. And, just because your face may not be a "winner" by this study's standard, that doesn't mean you can't win. Certainly not every goal-scorer's face met this ratio, and there are many, many definitions of what makes an "ideal face."