Identifying an empathy-lacking narcissist usually has a lot more to do with the person’s actions than their appearance—especially since selfies are regarded more so as a sign of self-love than a big ego. There might just be one obvious indicator, though, to give away the must-avoid trait of those tough-to-date folks: having enviously thick and incredibly well-maintained brows.
In a new study published in the Journal of Personality, researchers investigated whether there were any facial features in particular that narcissists shared. After having study participants take the Narcissistic Personality Inventory—a commonly used measure of narcissism as a personality trait—researchers cropped their photos so only their eyebrows could be seen, according to The Independent.
A separate group of individuals subsequently rated brows in the photos based on grooming, distinctiveness (thickness and density), and femininity. The researchers then compared the ratings to participants’ narcissism scores and noted a clear connection between well-groomed brows and grandiose narcissism—a style of the personality disorder that’s “flamboyant, assertive, and interpersonally dominant,” reports Psychology Today.
“Eyebrows facilitate facial recognition. Narcissists may maintain distinct, thick, and dense brows to enhance recognition, which they’re motivated to attain.” —Dr. Miranda Giacomin
According to the study authors, those who exhibit this particular type of narcissism constantly feel the need to be “aesthetically unique and recognizable”—and what better way to do so than by keeping their brows in tip-top shape? “Eyebrows facilitate facial recognition. Narcissists may maintain distinct, thick, and dense brows to enhance recognition, which they’re motivated to attain,” study author Miranda Giacomin, PhD, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto, told The Independent.
Now, don’t worry: This doesn’t mean every person with great eyebrows is a narcissist. Most people care about their forehead caterpillars to a certain extent, right? (Plus, I just can’t bear to imagine #BrowIdol Cara Delevingne being that self-absorbed, model or not.) With that said, this study could certainly hint at a deeper meaning behind someone’s face-dominating brows. The good news? It’s easy to spot in a Tinder photo, so you can navigate your summer-fling prospects empowered and knowledgable.
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