Women's preferences for masculinity in male faces are highest during reproductive age range and lower around puberty and post-menopause

Little, Anthony, Saxton, Tamsin, Roberts, S. Craig, Jones, Benedict, de Bruine, Lisa, Vukovic, Jovana, Perrett, David, Feinberg, David and Chenore, Todd (2010) Women's preferences for masculinity in male faces are highest during reproductive age range and lower around puberty and post-menopause. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 35 (6). pp. 912-920. ISSN 0306-4530

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2009.12.006

Abstract

Masculinity in male faces is thought to be a sign of mate quality and is associated with measures of long-term health. Previous studies have demonstrated that women'smasculinitypreferences change across the menstrual cycle with women preferring more masculine men during phases of the menstrual cycle where fertility is highest (i.e. the late follicular phase). Given the hormonal correlates of such preferences and that these hormones change across the life span, we tested for differences in female masculinitypreferences at different ages. We compared the masculinitypreferences of peri-pubescent girls and young adult women (Study 1), circum-menopausal women reporting to either be pre- or post-menopause (Study 2), and a large sample of women across a wide range of ages (Study 3). In all three studies, preferences for masculinity in malefaces were highest in women who were at a reproductively active age. Preferences for masculinity were lower when females were peri-pubescent, post-menopausal, or at ages corresponding to these groups. These data support the notion that masculinity in malefaces is an important trait for reproductively relevant mate choice decisions. These data also highlight a shift in female visual preferences for men that is associated with important stages of the lifespan. Visual preferences appear to track important hormonal changes associated with age; as women pass puberty their preferences shift towards facial traits associated with mate quality and as women undergo menopause their preferences for such facial traits decrease. Overall, these results demonstrate the important role of reproductive status and support the notion that preferences for malefaces are tied to reproductively relevant hormones.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: sexual dimorphism, masculinity, attractiveness, puberty, age, menopause
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2012 13:45
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2017 11:34
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/9079

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