Facial appearance is a cue to oestrogen levels in women

Miriam J. Law Smith, David I. Perrett, Benedict C. Jones, R. Elisabeth Cornwell, Fhionna R. Moore, David R. Feinberg, Lynda G. Boothroyd, S. J. Durrani, M. R. Stirrat, S. Whiten, R. M. Pitman, S. G. Hillier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

197 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although many accounts of facial attractiveness propose that femininity in women's faces indicates high levels of oestrogen, there is little empirical evidence in support of this assumption. Here, we used assays for urinary metabolites of oestrogen (oestrone-3-glucuronide, E1G) and progesterone (pregnanediol-3-glucuronide, P3G) to investigate the relationship between circulating gonadal hormones and ratings of the femininity, attractiveness and apparent health of women's faces. Positive correlations were observed between late follicular oestrogen and ratings of femininity, attractiveness and health. Positive correlations of luteal progesterone and health and attractiveness ratings were marginally significant. Ratings of facial attributions did not relate to hormone levels for women wearing make-up when photographed. There was no effect of sex of rater on the relationships between oestrogen and ratings of facial appearance. These findings demonstrate that female facial appearance holds detectable cues to reproductive health that are considered attractive by other people.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-140
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences
Volume273
Issue number1583
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2006

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Femininity
Cues
Estrogens
Progesterone
Gonadal Hormones
Corpus Luteum
Reproductive Health
Health
Women's Health
Hormones

Cite this

Law Smith, M. J., Perrett, D. I., Jones, B. C., Cornwell, R. E., Moore, F. R., Feinberg, D. R., ... Hillier, S. G. (2006). Facial appearance is a cue to oestrogen levels in women. Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences, 273(1583), 135-140. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2005.3296
Law Smith, Miriam J. ; Perrett, David I. ; Jones, Benedict C. ; Cornwell, R. Elisabeth ; Moore, Fhionna R. ; Feinberg, David R. ; Boothroyd, Lynda G. ; Durrani, S. J. ; Stirrat, M. R. ; Whiten, S. ; Pitman, R. M. ; Hillier, S. G. / Facial appearance is a cue to oestrogen levels in women. In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences. 2006 ; Vol. 273, No. 1583. pp. 135-140.
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Law Smith, MJ, Perrett, DI, Jones, BC, Cornwell, RE, Moore, FR, Feinberg, DR, Boothroyd, LG, Durrani, SJ, Stirrat, MR, Whiten, S, Pitman, RM & Hillier, SG 2006, 'Facial appearance is a cue to oestrogen levels in women', Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences, vol. 273, no. 1583, pp. 135-140. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2005.3296

Facial appearance is a cue to oestrogen levels in women. / Law Smith, Miriam J.; Perrett, David I.; Jones, Benedict C.; Cornwell, R. Elisabeth; Moore, Fhionna R.; Feinberg, David R.; Boothroyd, Lynda G.; Durrani, S. J.; Stirrat, M. R.; Whiten, S.; Pitman, R. M.; Hillier, S. G.

In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences, Vol. 273, No. 1583, 22.01.2006, p. 135-140.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Feinberg, David R.

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AB - Although many accounts of facial attractiveness propose that femininity in women's faces indicates high levels of oestrogen, there is little empirical evidence in support of this assumption. Here, we used assays for urinary metabolites of oestrogen (oestrone-3-glucuronide, E1G) and progesterone (pregnanediol-3-glucuronide, P3G) to investigate the relationship between circulating gonadal hormones and ratings of the femininity, attractiveness and apparent health of women's faces. Positive correlations were observed between late follicular oestrogen and ratings of femininity, attractiveness and health. Positive correlations of luteal progesterone and health and attractiveness ratings were marginally significant. Ratings of facial attributions did not relate to hormone levels for women wearing make-up when photographed. There was no effect of sex of rater on the relationships between oestrogen and ratings of facial appearance. These findings demonstrate that female facial appearance holds detectable cues to reproductive health that are considered attractive by other people.

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Law Smith MJ, Perrett DI, Jones BC, Cornwell RE, Moore FR, Feinberg DR et al. Facial appearance is a cue to oestrogen levels in women. Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences. 2006 Jan 22;273(1583):135-140. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2005.3296