Effects of menstrual cycle phase on face preferences

Benedict C. Jones, Lisa M. DeBruine, David I. Perrett, Anthony C. Little, David R. Feinberg, Miriam J. Law Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

134 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

While many studies of face preferences have emphasized high agreement among individuals about the types of faces they consider attractive and unattractive, other studies have demonstrated systematic variation in face preferences. Here, we review the evidence that women's preferences for masculinity, apparent health, and self-resemblance in faces change systematically during the menstrual cycle. Our review focuses on the proximate mechanisms that might underpin these changes (i.e., what changes in hormone levels are important for effects of menstrual cycle phase) and the possible functions of these changes (i.e., to maximize the likelihood that offspring inherit strong immune systems or to increase the likelihood of successful pregnancy by either promoting affiliation with individuals who will provide support and care during pregnancy or by promoting strategies to avoid contagion during social interactions). While evidence that differentiates between these two accounts of the function of cyclic shifts in face preferences is currently equivocal for masculinity preferences, there is compelling evidence that the function of the effects of menstrual cycle phase on preferences for apparent health and self-resemblance in faces is to increase the likelihood of successful pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-84
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Volume37
Issue number1
Early online date12 Jan 2008
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008

Keywords

  • facial attractiveness
  • social perception
  • mate preferences
  • hormones
  • menstrual cycle
  • womens preferences
  • sexual-dimorphism
  • salivary testosterone
  • mating preferences
  • apparent health
  • evolution
  • pregnancy
  • judgements
  • sickness

Cite this

Jones, B. C., DeBruine, L. M., Perrett, D. I., Little, A. C., Feinberg, D. R., & Smith, M. J. L. (2008). Effects of menstrual cycle phase on face preferences. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37(1), 78-84. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-007-9268-y

Effects of menstrual cycle phase on face preferences. / Jones, Benedict C.; DeBruine, Lisa M.; Perrett, David I.; Little, Anthony C.; Feinberg, David R.; Smith, Miriam J. Law.

In: Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 37, No. 1, 02.2008, p. 78-84.

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

Jones, BC, DeBruine, LM, Perrett, DI, Little, AC, Feinberg, DR & Smith, MJL 2008, 'Effects of menstrual cycle phase on face preferences', Archives of Sexual Behavior, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 78-84. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-007-9268-y
Jones BC, DeBruine LM, Perrett DI, Little AC, Feinberg DR, Smith MJL. Effects of menstrual cycle phase on face preferences. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 2008 Feb;37(1):78-84. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-007-9268-y
Jones, Benedict C. ; DeBruine, Lisa M. ; Perrett, David I. ; Little, Anthony C. ; Feinberg, David R. ; Smith, Miriam J. Law. / Effects of menstrual cycle phase on face preferences. In: Archives of Sexual Behavior. 2008 ; Vol. 37, No. 1. pp. 78-84.
@article{cb61da26bc6044e7acb7cddd7b0e0e7f,
title = "Effects of menstrual cycle phase on face preferences",
abstract = "While many studies of face preferences have emphasized high agreement among individuals about the types of faces they consider attractive and unattractive, other studies have demonstrated systematic variation in face preferences. Here, we review the evidence that women's preferences for masculinity, apparent health, and self-resemblance in faces change systematically during the menstrual cycle. Our review focuses on the proximate mechanisms that might underpin these changes (i.e., what changes in hormone levels are important for effects of menstrual cycle phase) and the possible functions of these changes (i.e., to maximize the likelihood that offspring inherit strong immune systems or to increase the likelihood of successful pregnancy by either promoting affiliation with individuals who will provide support and care during pregnancy or by promoting strategies to avoid contagion during social interactions). While evidence that differentiates between these two accounts of the function of cyclic shifts in face preferences is currently equivocal for masculinity preferences, there is compelling evidence that the function of the effects of menstrual cycle phase on preferences for apparent health and self-resemblance in faces is to increase the likelihood of successful pregnancy.",
keywords = "facial attractiveness, social perception, mate preferences, hormones, menstrual cycle, womens preferences, sexual-dimorphism, salivary testosterone, mating preferences, apparent health, evolution, pregnancy, judgements, sickness",
author = "Jones, {Benedict C.} and DeBruine, {Lisa M.} and Perrett, {David I.} and Little, {Anthony C.} and Feinberg, {David R.} and Smith, {Miriam J. Law}",
year = "2008",
month = "2",
doi = "10.1007/s10508-007-9268-y",
language = "English",
volume = "37",
pages = "78--84",
journal = "Archives of Sexual Behavior",
issn = "0004-0002",
publisher = "Springer New York",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Effects of menstrual cycle phase on face preferences

AU - Jones, Benedict C.

AU - DeBruine, Lisa M.

AU - Perrett, David I.

AU - Little, Anthony C.

AU - Feinberg, David R.

AU - Smith, Miriam J. Law

PY - 2008/2

Y1 - 2008/2

N2 - While many studies of face preferences have emphasized high agreement among individuals about the types of faces they consider attractive and unattractive, other studies have demonstrated systematic variation in face preferences. Here, we review the evidence that women's preferences for masculinity, apparent health, and self-resemblance in faces change systematically during the menstrual cycle. Our review focuses on the proximate mechanisms that might underpin these changes (i.e., what changes in hormone levels are important for effects of menstrual cycle phase) and the possible functions of these changes (i.e., to maximize the likelihood that offspring inherit strong immune systems or to increase the likelihood of successful pregnancy by either promoting affiliation with individuals who will provide support and care during pregnancy or by promoting strategies to avoid contagion during social interactions). While evidence that differentiates between these two accounts of the function of cyclic shifts in face preferences is currently equivocal for masculinity preferences, there is compelling evidence that the function of the effects of menstrual cycle phase on preferences for apparent health and self-resemblance in faces is to increase the likelihood of successful pregnancy.

AB - While many studies of face preferences have emphasized high agreement among individuals about the types of faces they consider attractive and unattractive, other studies have demonstrated systematic variation in face preferences. Here, we review the evidence that women's preferences for masculinity, apparent health, and self-resemblance in faces change systematically during the menstrual cycle. Our review focuses on the proximate mechanisms that might underpin these changes (i.e., what changes in hormone levels are important for effects of menstrual cycle phase) and the possible functions of these changes (i.e., to maximize the likelihood that offspring inherit strong immune systems or to increase the likelihood of successful pregnancy by either promoting affiliation with individuals who will provide support and care during pregnancy or by promoting strategies to avoid contagion during social interactions). While evidence that differentiates between these two accounts of the function of cyclic shifts in face preferences is currently equivocal for masculinity preferences, there is compelling evidence that the function of the effects of menstrual cycle phase on preferences for apparent health and self-resemblance in faces is to increase the likelihood of successful pregnancy.

KW - facial attractiveness

KW - social perception

KW - mate preferences

KW - hormones

KW - menstrual cycle

KW - womens preferences

KW - sexual-dimorphism

KW - salivary testosterone

KW - mating preferences

KW - apparent health

KW - evolution

KW - pregnancy

KW - judgements

KW - sickness

U2 - 10.1007/s10508-007-9268-y

DO - 10.1007/s10508-007-9268-y

M3 - Literature review

VL - 37

SP - 78

EP - 84

JO - Archives of Sexual Behavior

JF - Archives of Sexual Behavior

SN - 0004-0002

IS - 1

ER -