Male facial attractiveness, perceived personality, and child-directed speech

Ian S. Penton-voak, Stephanie Cahill, Nicholas Pound, Vera Kempe, Sonja Schaeffler, Felix Schaeffler

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9 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated associations between men's facial attractiveness, perceived personality, attitudes towards children, and the quality of their child-directed (CD) speech. Sixty-three males were photographed and completed a brief questionnaire concerning their family background and attitudes towards children. They then performed a task in which they gave directions to (imaginary) adults and children. Analyses of the acoustic properties of speech produced under each condition were performed in order to determine the extent to which individual men changed their speech to accommodate a child listener (i.e., exhibited CD speech). The men's faces were rated by 59 female participants, who assessed perceived prosociality, masculinity, health, and short- and long-term attractiveness. Although women's ratings of attractiveness and prosociality were related to men's self-reported liking for children, they were negatively correlated to men's use of CD speech (i.e., less attractive men used more features of CD speech when addressing an imaginary child). These findings are discussed in the context of halo effects and strategic pluralism in male mating behaviors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-259
Number of pages7
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Male facial attractiveness
  • Child-directed speech
  • Perceived personality
  • Zero acquaintance
  • Paternal investment


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