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Preferences across the menstrual cycle for masculinity and symmetry in photographs of male faces and bodies.

Peters M, Simmons LW, Rhodes G - PLoS ONE (2009)

Bottom Line: We found no evidence for any cyclic shift in female preferences.Correlations between attractiveness and masculinity, and attractiveness and symmetry did not differ significantly between high- and low-fertility test sessions.These results suggest that a menstrual cycle shift in visual preferences for masculinity and symmetry may be too subtle to influence responses to real faces and bodies, and subsequent mate-choice decisions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Centre for Evolutionary Biology, School of Animal Biology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia.

ABSTRACT

Background: Previous studies have shown that women increase their preference for masculinity during the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle. Evidence for a similar preference shift for symmetry is equivocal. These studies have required participants to choose between subtle variations in computer-generated stimuli, and preferences for more natural stimuli have not been investigated.

Methodology/principal findings: Our study employed photographs of individual males to investigate women's preferences for face and body masculinity and symmetry across the menstrual cycle. We collected attractiveness ratings from 25 normally cycling women at high- and low-fertility days of the menstrual cycle. Attractiveness ratings made by these women were correlated with independent ratings of masculinity and symmetry provided by different sets of raters. We found no evidence for any cyclic shift in female preferences. Correlations between attractiveness and masculinity, and attractiveness and symmetry did not differ significantly between high- and low-fertility test sessions. Furthermore, there was no significant difference between high- and low-fertility ratings of attractiveness.

Conclusions: These results suggest that a menstrual cycle shift in visual preferences for masculinity and symmetry may be too subtle to influence responses to real faces and bodies, and subsequent mate-choice decisions.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Symmetry preference strength as measured by Pearson correlation coefficients between attractiveness and each of face and body symmetry rated by women at low- (dark bars) and high- (light bars) fertility points of the menstrual cycle (n = 117, all p values<0.001).95% CIs are shown.
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pone-0004138-g003: Symmetry preference strength as measured by Pearson correlation coefficients between attractiveness and each of face and body symmetry rated by women at low- (dark bars) and high- (light bars) fertility points of the menstrual cycle (n = 117, all p values<0.001).95% CIs are shown.

Mentions: Descriptive statistics for attractiveness, masculinity and symmetry ratings of each male face and body are shown in Table 1. Both face and body masculinity ratings were strongly and significantly correlated with low- and high-fertility attractiveness ratings (Figures 1 & 2). Similarly, face and body symmetry were also significantly correlated with attractiveness rated at both low- and high-fertility (Figures 1 & 3).


Preferences across the menstrual cycle for masculinity and symmetry in photographs of male faces and bodies.

Peters M, Simmons LW, Rhodes G - PLoS ONE (2009)

Symmetry preference strength as measured by Pearson correlation coefficients between attractiveness and each of face and body symmetry rated by women at low- (dark bars) and high- (light bars) fertility points of the menstrual cycle (n = 117, all p values<0.001).95% CIs are shown.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2607552&req=5

pone-0004138-g003: Symmetry preference strength as measured by Pearson correlation coefficients between attractiveness and each of face and body symmetry rated by women at low- (dark bars) and high- (light bars) fertility points of the menstrual cycle (n = 117, all p values<0.001).95% CIs are shown.
Mentions: Descriptive statistics for attractiveness, masculinity and symmetry ratings of each male face and body are shown in Table 1. Both face and body masculinity ratings were strongly and significantly correlated with low- and high-fertility attractiveness ratings (Figures 1 & 2). Similarly, face and body symmetry were also significantly correlated with attractiveness rated at both low- and high-fertility (Figures 1 & 3).

Bottom Line: We found no evidence for any cyclic shift in female preferences.Correlations between attractiveness and masculinity, and attractiveness and symmetry did not differ significantly between high- and low-fertility test sessions.These results suggest that a menstrual cycle shift in visual preferences for masculinity and symmetry may be too subtle to influence responses to real faces and bodies, and subsequent mate-choice decisions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Centre for Evolutionary Biology, School of Animal Biology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia.

ABSTRACT

Background: Previous studies have shown that women increase their preference for masculinity during the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle. Evidence for a similar preference shift for symmetry is equivocal. These studies have required participants to choose between subtle variations in computer-generated stimuli, and preferences for more natural stimuli have not been investigated.

Methodology/principal findings: Our study employed photographs of individual males to investigate women's preferences for face and body masculinity and symmetry across the menstrual cycle. We collected attractiveness ratings from 25 normally cycling women at high- and low-fertility days of the menstrual cycle. Attractiveness ratings made by these women were correlated with independent ratings of masculinity and symmetry provided by different sets of raters. We found no evidence for any cyclic shift in female preferences. Correlations between attractiveness and masculinity, and attractiveness and symmetry did not differ significantly between high- and low-fertility test sessions. Furthermore, there was no significant difference between high- and low-fertility ratings of attractiveness.

Conclusions: These results suggest that a menstrual cycle shift in visual preferences for masculinity and symmetry may be too subtle to influence responses to real faces and bodies, and subsequent mate-choice decisions.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus