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Women wise up to 'rats'

Date

LOVE rats beware: women can spot a cheater with a glance.

There are evolutionary benefits to being able to identify a cheat because of the social and economic costs associated with picking an unfaithful partner.

Men may end up raising another man's child and women risk losing parental resources.

Researchers including Gillian Rhodes, of the University of Western Australia, asked people to judge sexual unfaithfulness by looking at the faces of opposite-sex strangers who had already reported their cheating or poaching behaviour.

''We included poaching because it may indicate low commitment to monogamous values,'' their paper published on Wednesday in Biology Letters journal says.

The study found there was a reasonable consensus among the participants about who might be unfaithful.

Attractiveness was not a factor - both men and women rated attractive people more trustworthy.

Women used facial masculinity as a cue to likely cheating behaviour with ''modest accuracy''.

Women's sensitivity to facial cues to infidelity may be a perceptual adaptation for finding good mates, given the likely reproductive costs of an unfaithful partner, the paper says.

AAP

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