Female preference for male faces changes cyclically: Further evidence

I S Penton-Voak, D I Perrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

302 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Research has failed to reach consensus on the characteristics of attractive male faces. Different studies have reported preferences for phenotypically average faces, and faces with both exaggerated and reduced sexual dimorphism. Recent studies demonstrate cyclic changes in female sexual behavior and preferences for odors and facial characteristics that may reflect conditional mating strategies. We employed computer graphic techniques to manipulate the "masculinity" or "femininity" of a composite male face by exaggerating or reducing the shape differences between female and male average faces. Five stimuli with varying levels of masculinity and femininity were presented in a national U.K. magazine, with a questionnaire. Female respondents in the follicular phase of their menstrual cycle (n = 55) were significantly more likely to choose a masculine face than those in-menses and luteal phases (n = 84). This study provides further evidence that when conception is most likely, females prefer testosterone-related facial characteristics that may honestly advertise immunocompetence. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-48
Number of pages10
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2000

Keywords

  • male facial attractiveness
  • menstrual cycle
  • sexual selection
  • SEXUAL SELECTION
  • FACIAL ATTRACTIVENESS
  • FLUCTUATING ASYMMETRY
  • MENSTRUAL-CYCLE
  • HOMO-SAPIENS
  • DOMINANCE
  • PERCEPTION
  • SYMMETRY
  • SHAPE
  • MEN

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