Facial composition, body language, and interpersonal judgements: individual differences in partner choice

Newman, Amy (2019) Facial composition, body language, and interpersonal judgements: individual differences in partner choice. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Abstract

Background and Objectives: Human mate choice is a complex, multi-faceted area of research. This thesis aims to investigate the contested relationship between facial appearance and fathering ability, based on the idea that women make a trade-off between a partner with good genes, and someone who will invest in the offspring. Additionally, a further investigation into sexual disgust at the prospect of mating with kin, with self-similar male faces as a proxy, to observe the Westermarck effect in action. The similarity of couples in appearance, personality, and genetics has been well documented, but less known is the similarity of body language of couples, and if they can be differentiated from pairs of strangers. Finally, a look into imprinting-like mechanism upon parental eye colour across individuals dating histories, as well as seeing if there is a self-similar preference for eye colour.
Methods: Innovative technology is mixed with traditional survey methods (Chapters 5 and 6) in this thesis, including facial measurements and facial morphing (Chapters 2 and 3), electromyography measuring disgust (Chapter 3), and motion capture (Chapter 4).
Results and Conclusions: We found that masculine fathers are not worse fathers, and that perceived masculinity has no association with structural masculinity in our sample, that self-reported disgust supports the Westermarck hypothesis that cues of kinship are unattractive after some similarity. We also found that couples move differently to strangers and can be identified as such, that individuals do not appear to actualise eye colour preference in dating partners, and that same-sex parent matching occurs more than opposite-sex parent eye colour matching.
It is clear that there is much work still to do to disentangle the evolutionary aspects of human mate choice, but the use of novel methodology in this thesis adds further knowledge and clarity to some contentious areas of research, as well as new avenues.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Evolutionary psychology, Human mate choice, imprinting, sexual disgust
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2020 13:07
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2020 13:15
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/42532

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