The more symmetrical a man's face is, the more likely he is to
Men with symmetrical faces likely to remain
mentally alert in later life
remain mentally alert in later life, a study has suggested.
By Urmee Khan
Psychologists found that men with higher levels of facial symmetry – having faces with matching left and right sides – were less prone to mental decline between the ages of 79 and 83.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh compared reasoning and reaction time test scores with measurements of facial symmetry in 216 men and women studied since 1932.
'Men face memory loss earlier than women'The results showed that facial symmetry in men, but not women, was linked to the effects of ageing on mental processes.
Examples of men with a high degree of facial symmetry include the actors George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Jude Law.
Women may not show the same association because of genetic differences or the fact that they live four years longer than men on average, the scientists believe.
Mental functions decline especially rapidly in the last four years before death.
The findings are published today in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour.
Facial symmetry may be a reflection of stability in men, indicating fewer disturbances such as diseases, toxins, malnutrition or harmful genetic mutations during an individual's development.
Dr Lars Penke, from the University of Edinburgh, who led the study, said: "Previous research has suggested that cognitive decline is an aspect of body-wide ageing. This link could show that facial symmetry can be used as a marker which could predict this decline."
Earlier research has already shown associations between facial symmetry and general health and perceived physical attractiveness. Studies have found that symmetrical human faces are more beautiful to the opposite sex.
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