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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10373/822

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Title: Trade-offs between markers of absolute and relative quality in human facial preferences
Authors: Saxton, Tamsin K.
Little, Anthony C.
Rowland, Hannah M.
Gao, Ting
Roberts, S. Craig
Affiliation: University of Abertay Dundee. School of Social & Health Sciences
Keywords: Attractiveness
Face preference
Facial masculinity
Genetic compatibility
Mate choice
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Type: Journal Article
Refereed: peer-reviewed
Rights: This is the author's final version of this article. Published version (c)Oxford University Press, available from http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arp107
Citation: Saxton, T.K., et al. 2009. Trade-offs between markers of absolute and relative quality in human facial preferences. Behavioral Ecology. 20(5): pp.1133-1137. Available from http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arp107
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.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10373/822
ISSN: 1045-2249
Appears in Collections:Social & Health Sciences Collection

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