Facial features and unethical behavior - Doped athletes show higher facial width-to-height ratios than non-doping sanctioned athletes / Bjoern Krenn, Callum Buehler. - (PLoSONE (2019) 30 October); p. 1-9).
- PMID: 31665155.
- PMCID: PMC6821090.
- DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224472
Past research has emphasized the role of facial structures in predicting social behavior. In particular the facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) was found to be a reliable predictor for antisocial and unethical behavior. The current study was aimed at examining this association in the field of sports: FWHRs of 146 doping sanctioned athletes in athletics (37 male/38 female) and weightlifting (44 male/27 female) were compared to the fWHRs of randomly chosen non-doping sanctioned athletes of the Top Ten at the World Championship 2017 and Olympic Games 2016 in both sports (146 athletes). The results showed that doping sanctioned athletes due to the use of anabolic steroids had larger fWHRs than non-doping sanctioned athletes. However, doping sanctioned athletes due to other doping rule violations than the use of anabolic steroids, did not show this effect. The study provides empirical evidence for the relation between fWHR and unethical behavior in a real-world setting and contributes to the discussion about fWHR’s biological origin, emphasizing the role of anabolic steroids. A mutual interaction between fWHR and doping behavior is discussed, at which a larger fWHR might signify a higher tendency to behave unethically, whereas the consequential intake of anabolic steroids might also shape individuals’ faces.