Skin blood perfusion and oxygenation colour affect perceived human health

Ian David Stephen, Vinet Coetzee, Miriam Jane Law Smith, David Ian Perrett

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160 Citations (Scopus)
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Skin blood perfusion and oxygenation depends upon cardiovascular, hormonal and circulatory health in humans and provides socio-sexual signals of underlying physiology, dominance and reproductive status in some primates. We allowed participants to manipulate colour calibrated facial photographs along empirically-measured oxygenated and deoxygenated blood colour axes both separately and simultaneously, to optimise healthy appearance. Participants increased skin blood colour, particularly oxygenated, above basal levels to optimise healthy appearance. We show, therefore, that skin blood perfusion and oxygenation influence perceived health in a way that may be important to mate choice.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere5083
JournalPLoS One
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2009


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