A recent scientific paper has suggested that "resting bitch face," or RBF, is a real physical trait, and argues that it’s just as common in men as it is in women.

The research was conducted by Jason Rogers and Abbe Macbeth, two scientists from the Dutch research firm Noldus Information Technology. The duo wanted to find out whether RBF was a real characteristic as well as what causes it. They used the company’s facial analysis software, FaceReader, to scrutinize human faces in order to get a better understanding of the tiny intricacies involved in our many facial expressions. FaceReader looked at both still photos and moving images of different male and female faces taken from a Google search of RBF examples, such as Twilight actress Kristen Stewart and The Queen of England, as well as faces not associated with the term. The program then mapped over 500 points on the faces to distinguish how many markers they showed for each of the six “basic” emotions: happy, angry, sad, scared, surprised, and disgusted.

The analysis revealed that nearly all of the examples of RBF had one significant trait in common: contempt. In all, contempt appeared in as many as 5.76 percent of total facial expression for the RBF group. Non-RBF images, meanwhile, were far less likely to show signs of contempt — it appeared in only 3 percent of overall emotional expressions.

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, contempt is a feeling that someone or something is below you or not worthy or your respect of approval. As far as human emotions go, it's one of the worst. Contempt is the only asymmetrical universal facial expression, marked by one corner of the lip being pulled back and slightly upwards, and is closely related to feelings of superiority, Brain Fodder reported.

FaceReader did not detect enough contempt in the faces to register true expressions of contempt, suggesting that the individuals were not actually feeling this emotion when photographed. However, the traces of emotion were enough for onlookers to notice and subsequently associate with negativity.

“Something in the neutral expression of the face is relaying contempt, both to the software and to us,” Macbeth told The Washington Post.

FaceReader registered RBF equally in both genders, despite it being more commonly associated with women than men. The reason for this perception may be more heavily rooted in society than science.

“RBF isn’t necessarily something that occurs more in women, but we’re more attuned to notice it in women because women have more pressure on them to be happy and smiley, and to get along with others,” Macbeth told New York magazine.