Sexual dimorphism in the female face is a cue to health and social status but not age

Fhionna R. Moore, Miriam J. Law Smith, V. Taylor, David I. Perrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The link between femininity and attractiveness in the female face is attributed to the value placed on fertility in attractiveness judgements of women. This is supported by relationships between femininity, health and age, although relatively little research has systematically tested the contribution of each to femininity, or individual differences in men’s face preferences. In Study 1 we found that preferences for femininity remained significant, although reduced, when health was controlled for and remained significant when age was controlled for. We also found a positive relationship between men’s ideal number of children and femininity preferences. In Study 2 we found a negative relationship between men’s preferences for social status in a partner and for facial femininity. Results suggest that femininity provides cues to multiple traits and we recommend further investigation of systematic variation in men’s mate preferences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1068-1073
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - May 2011


  • Sexual dimorphism
  • Female face
  • Mate preferences
  • Femininity


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