You know how annoying it is when you walk into a room, and someone immediately gasps and remarks upon how tired or ill you look? Yeah, well, unfortunately, those jerks might be on to something, because apparently, there’s a new study that explains how to tell someone is sick just by looking at them. It’s time to hunker down for a few months of the most awkward water-cooler talk in office spaces everywhere.
The study, published in the journal Proceedings Of The Royal Society B, revealed that untrained people can determine between a sick person and a non-sick person above chance level (aka more than half the time), when the sick person was having an immune response.
In the study, people looked at two pictures of different faces and tried to determine which person was the one who’d been injected with bacteria that led to an immune response (side note: bravo to the people who were voluntarily injected with said bacteria). In general, the people who were sick were rated to have these symptoms: paler lips and skin, swollen faces, hanging eyelids, droopier corners of the mouth, red eyes, and less glossy skin.