Goatees Are Only Evil Because We're All Afraid Of Triangles

So you're sitting in a room, and your exact doppleganger walks in — only they've got a goatee. Which one is the evil twin? You probably said the bloke with the goatee, right? A new study suggests that it might be the triangular nature of the goatee that makes them the evil twin, and not the fact that they were clearly created in a lab for the purpose of destroying the known universe. The study, conducted by Dr Derrick Watson and Dr Elisabeth Blagrove of the Unversity of Warwick, looked at people's reactions to faces. Test subjects were first shown positive, neutral and negative faces. The negative faces were detected first, which makes sense if you need to detect danger; a welcoming face is one you can take more time to assess, but you may want to run away from an angry image.

They were then shown a series of triangles pointing in each primary compass direction — and the reaction time to the downwards triangle was similar to that of the angry face. The conclusion drawn was that a downwards triangle shape on the face conveys negative expressions — or, in other words, goatees make you look evil. As always, it's worth pointing out that this is a correlation, not an explicit cause — and the study doesn't entirely say why triangles have this particular connection to our emotional states. There's also no word on what a goatee on a lady signifies, beyond perhaps a pending circus career. [ncbi via io9]

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