Trade-offs between markers of absolute and relative quality in human facial preferences

Tamsin K. Saxton, Anthony C. Little, Hannah M. Rowland, Ting Gao, S. Craig Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 9 Citations

Abstract

Individuals are attuned to cues of quality in potential mates. Mate quality is assessed on both an absolute scale, independent of the observer, and also on a relative scale, dependent on attributes of the observer. Much research has focused on how individuals respond to either absolute or relative quality in mate choice, but how these dimensions are weighted during mate-choice decisions is poorly understood and has recently attracted much theoretical interest. Here, we examine the interplay between women's facial preferences for a measure of absolute quality (sexual dimorphism) and one of relative quality (self-similarity). Women rated the attractiveness of male faces that had been simultaneously manipulated along the dimensions of masculinity and self-similarity in short-term and long-term relationship contexts. Sexual dimorphism had a greater positive effect on ratings than self-similarity, and masculinity and self-similarity had positive combinative effects on ratings of attractiveness. Women's coexpressed preferences for masculine faces combined with their lesser preference for subtly self-similar faces may reflect selection of good genes, promote optimal outbreeding, and give rise to directional selection, even in the presence of a general self-similarity preference.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1133-1137
Number of pages5
JournalBehavioral Ecology
Volume20
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009

Fingerprint

mate choice
sexual dimorphism
mating behavior
gene
outbreeding
genes

Cite this

Saxton, T. K., Little, A. C., Rowland, H. M., Gao, T., & Roberts, S. C. (2009). Trade-offs between markers of absolute and relative quality in human facial preferences. Behavioral Ecology, 20(5), 1133-1137. DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arp107

Saxton, Tamsin K.; Little, Anthony C.; Rowland, Hannah M.; Gao, Ting; Roberts, S. Craig / Trade-offs between markers of absolute and relative quality in human facial preferences.

In: Behavioral Ecology, Vol. 20, No. 5, 2009, p. 1133-1137.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{394448cab43646b9aa9d3e9791cb0164,
title = "Trade-offs between markers of absolute and relative quality in human facial preferences",
abstract = "Individuals are attuned to cues of quality in potential mates. Mate quality is assessed on both an absolute scale, independent of the observer, and also on a relative scale, dependent on attributes of the observer. Much research has focused on how individuals respond to either absolute or relative quality in mate choice, but how these dimensions are weighted during mate-choice decisions is poorly understood and has recently attracted much theoretical interest. Here, we examine the interplay between women's facial preferences for a measure of absolute quality (sexual dimorphism) and one of relative quality (self-similarity). Women rated the attractiveness of male faces that had been simultaneously manipulated along the dimensions of masculinity and self-similarity in short-term and long-term relationship contexts. Sexual dimorphism had a greater positive effect on ratings than self-similarity, and masculinity and self-similarity had positive combinative effects on ratings of attractiveness. Women's coexpressed preferences for masculine faces combined with their lesser preference for subtly self-similar faces may reflect selection of good genes, promote optimal outbreeding, and give rise to directional selection, even in the presence of a general self-similarity preference.",
author = "Saxton, {Tamsin K.} and Little, {Anthony C.} and Rowland, {Hannah M.} and Ting Gao and Roberts, {S. Craig}",
year = "2009",
doi = "10.1093/beheco/arp107",
volume = "20",
pages = "1133--1137",
journal = "Behavioral Ecology",
issn = "1045-2249",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "5",

}

Saxton, TK, Little, AC, Rowland, HM, Gao, T & Roberts, SC 2009, 'Trade-offs between markers of absolute and relative quality in human facial preferences' Behavioral Ecology, vol 20, no. 5, pp. 1133-1137. DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arp107

Trade-offs between markers of absolute and relative quality in human facial preferences. / Saxton, Tamsin K.; Little, Anthony C.; Rowland, Hannah M.; Gao, Ting; Roberts, S. Craig.

In: Behavioral Ecology, Vol. 20, No. 5, 2009, p. 1133-1137.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Trade-offs between markers of absolute and relative quality in human facial preferences

AU - Saxton,Tamsin K.

AU - Little,Anthony C.

AU - Rowland,Hannah M.

AU - Gao,Ting

AU - Roberts,S. Craig

PY - 2009

Y1 - 2009

N2 - Individuals are attuned to cues of quality in potential mates. Mate quality is assessed on both an absolute scale, independent of the observer, and also on a relative scale, dependent on attributes of the observer. Much research has focused on how individuals respond to either absolute or relative quality in mate choice, but how these dimensions are weighted during mate-choice decisions is poorly understood and has recently attracted much theoretical interest. Here, we examine the interplay between women's facial preferences for a measure of absolute quality (sexual dimorphism) and one of relative quality (self-similarity). Women rated the attractiveness of male faces that had been simultaneously manipulated along the dimensions of masculinity and self-similarity in short-term and long-term relationship contexts. Sexual dimorphism had a greater positive effect on ratings than self-similarity, and masculinity and self-similarity had positive combinative effects on ratings of attractiveness. Women's coexpressed preferences for masculine faces combined with their lesser preference for subtly self-similar faces may reflect selection of good genes, promote optimal outbreeding, and give rise to directional selection, even in the presence of a general self-similarity preference.

AB - Individuals are attuned to cues of quality in potential mates. Mate quality is assessed on both an absolute scale, independent of the observer, and also on a relative scale, dependent on attributes of the observer. Much research has focused on how individuals respond to either absolute or relative quality in mate choice, but how these dimensions are weighted during mate-choice decisions is poorly understood and has recently attracted much theoretical interest. Here, we examine the interplay between women's facial preferences for a measure of absolute quality (sexual dimorphism) and one of relative quality (self-similarity). Women rated the attractiveness of male faces that had been simultaneously manipulated along the dimensions of masculinity and self-similarity in short-term and long-term relationship contexts. Sexual dimorphism had a greater positive effect on ratings than self-similarity, and masculinity and self-similarity had positive combinative effects on ratings of attractiveness. Women's coexpressed preferences for masculine faces combined with their lesser preference for subtly self-similar faces may reflect selection of good genes, promote optimal outbreeding, and give rise to directional selection, even in the presence of a general self-similarity preference.

U2 - 10.1093/beheco/arp107

DO - 10.1093/beheco/arp107

M3 - Article

VL - 20

SP - 1133

EP - 1137

JO - Behavioral Ecology

T2 - Behavioral Ecology

JF - Behavioral Ecology

SN - 1045-2249

IS - 5

ER -

Saxton TK, Little AC, Rowland HM, Gao T, Roberts SC. Trade-offs between markers of absolute and relative quality in human facial preferences. Behavioral Ecology. 2009;20(5):1133-1137. Available from, DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arp107