New Delhi: With elections just around the corner and accusations flying around, a new study can help you decide who's lie is it anyway? (Pun intended)

New research shows that people can have a vague idea about a politician's honesty just by looking at them. Researchers from California Institute of Technology are suggesting that when people are shown photos of politicians they're not familiar with, they can make better judgments whether corruption charges have been levelled against the said politicians or not.

The report also said that people can make these judgments even without knowing anything about the politicians or their careers and that seems to be influenced by how wide the politicians' faces are.

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The facial width-to-height ratio has long been used in correlation with aggressive behaviour in men. According to this, men with wider faces have a greater tendency to be aggressive than those with thinner faces. "It might be difficult to understand why you can look at others' faces and tell something about them," says Chujun Lin, study co-author and Caltech graduate student. "But there is no doubt that people form first impressions from faces all the time. For example, even on dating sites, people often reject potential matches based on pictures," he adds.

However, the researchers are not claiming that politicians who look corruptible are inherently more corrupt than their thinner faced counterparts. They claim that the connection between facial appearance and corruption can have many explanations. There is a possibility that if a face conveys a sense of dishonesty, the politician might be offered bribes more often, and another is that corruptible-looking politicians may just be more often suspected of, investigated for, and convicted of corruption because of their looks.

"If a jury is deciding whether or not a politician is guilty, having a corruptible-looking face might create a negative impression, which might influence the jury's decision," says Lin, adding that the "clean" looking politicians used in the study maybe 'just haven't been caught.'

If you are wondering why corrupt politicians get elected in the first place if people can tell they're corrupt just by looking at them, co-author of the research Ralph Adolphs has an answer. He says,  "In the real world, you're not just seeing a photo of a politician. You're seeing them talk and move. Their face might make a first impression on you, but there are other factors that can come in and override that."

(Inputs courtesy: