A longitudinal study of adolescents’ judgments of the attractiveness of facial symmetry, averageness and sexual dimorphism
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Adolescents have been found to differ by age in their attraction to facial symmetry, averageness, and sexual dimorphism. However, it has not been demonstrated that attraction to these facial characters changes over time as a consequence of age-linked development. We aimed to extend previous cross-sectional findings by examining whether facial attractiveness judgments change over time during adolescence as a consequence of increasing age, in a within-subjects study of two cohorts of adolescents aged 11–16. Consistent with previous findings, we find that adolescents (often particularly females) judged faces with increased averageness, symmetry and femininity to be more attractive than original, asymmetric and masculine faces, respectively. However, we do not find longitudinal changes in face preference judgments across the course of a year, leading us to question the extent to which some of the previously reported differences in facial attractiveness judgments between younger and older adolescents were due to age-linked changes.