Title

Pathogen avoidance mechanisms affect women's preference for symmetrical male faces

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-1-2019

Subject Area

ARRAY(0x5598b5af0b50)

Abstract

The current experiments tested the hypothesis that situational pathogen cues would increase mate preferences for facial symmetry-a characteristic thought to signal immunocompetence. Across 2 experiments, participants were primed with situational disease cues and were asked to select the more desirable of 2 virtually identical faces or nonsocial stimuli. In each case, one image of the pair had been altered to be highly symmetrical. Results of both experiments indicated that exposure to disease cues increased preference for symmetrical opposite sex targets, an effect that was relatively stronger among women than men (Experiment 2). No effects were observed for same-sex targets (Experiments 1 and 2) or nonsocial stimuli (Experiment 1). These experiments provide a conceptual replication of research reported by Little, DeBruine, and Jones (2011) and Young, Sacco, and Hugenberg (2011) and extend the literature on disease avoidance and mate preferences by offering new evidence that disease avoidance may be associated with stronger preference for facial symmetry in female perceivers than male perceivers.

Publication Title

Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences

Volume

13

Issue

3

First Page

265

Last Page

271

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1037/ebs0000139

ISSN

23302925

E-ISSN

23302933

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