The role of sexually dimorphic skin colour and shape in attractiveness of male faces
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Evidence for attraction to sexually dimorphic features in male faces is inconsistent in the literature. Mixed results regarding facial masculinity and male attractiveness may arise partly from different influences of face shape and face colouration depending on whether colour was controlled. Recent research suggests that masculinity in face colour, namely darker skin, and femininity in shape are attractive in male faces. Here we examine the influence of sexual dimorphism in skin colour and face shape on attractiveness in 3 experiments. We allowed female participants to manipulate male and female face images along axes of sexual dimorphism in skin colour and/or shape in order to optimise attractiveness. Participants searching for the most attractive appearance chose to masculinise the colour of male faces more than the colour of female faces (although not reaching significance in Experiment 3; p = .16). We found a clear preference for feminine shape in male faces supporting predictions of recent research. These results help to clarify the influence of facial masculinity in women’s attractiveness preferences.
Carrito , M , Santos , I M , Lefevre , C E , Whitehead , R D , Silva , C F & Perrett , D I 2016 , ' The role of sexually dimorphic skin colour and shape in attractiveness of male faces ' Evolution and Human Behavior , vol 37 , no. 2 , pp. 125–133 . DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2015.09.006
Evolution and Human Behavior
Copyright © 2015 Published by Elsevier Inc. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2015.09.006
This research was supported by funding from Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and the POPH/FSE Program (grant reference SFRH/BD/77592/2011).