Illness in childhood predicts face preferences in adulthood

Micheal De Barra, Lisa M. DeBruine, Benedict C. Jones, Zahid Hayat Mahmud, Valerie A. Curtis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The value of different mate choices may depend on the local pathogen ecology and on personal infection susceptibility: when there is a high risk of infection, choosing a healthy or immunocompetent mate may be particularly important. Frequency of childhood illness may act as a cue of the ecological and immunological factors relevant to mate preferences. Consistent with this proposal, we found that childhood illness – and frequency of diarrhea in particular – was positively correlated with preferences for exaggerated sex-typical characteristics in opposite-sex, but not same-sex, faces. Moreover, this relationship was stronger among individuals with poorer current health. These data suggest that childhood illness may play a role in calibrating adult mate preferences and have implications for theories of disease-avoidance psychology, life-history strategy and cross-cultural differences in mate preferences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-389
Number of pages6
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Volume34
Issue number6
Early online date28 Aug 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

Fingerprint

mating behavior
adulthood
childhood
psychology
Immunologic Factors
mate choice
Infection
Ecology
Sex Characteristics
Cues
gender
Diarrhea
life history
pathogen
immunologic factors
Psychology
ecology
cultural differences
Health
infection

Keywords

  • Facial attractiveness
  • Infectious disease
  • Sexual dimorphism
  • Predictive adaptive response
  • Behavioral immune system

Cite this

De Barra, M., DeBruine, L. M., Jones, B. C., Hayat Mahmud, Z., & Curtis, V. A. (2013). Illness in childhood predicts face preferences in adulthood. Evolution and Human Behavior, 34(6), 384-389. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2013.07.001

Illness in childhood predicts face preferences in adulthood. / De Barra, Micheal; DeBruine, Lisa M.; Jones, Benedict C.; Hayat Mahmud, Zahid ; Curtis, Valerie A.

In: Evolution and Human Behavior, Vol. 34, No. 6, 11.2013, p. 384-389.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

De Barra, M, DeBruine, LM, Jones, BC, Hayat Mahmud, Z & Curtis, VA 2013, 'Illness in childhood predicts face preferences in adulthood', Evolution and Human Behavior, vol. 34, no. 6, pp. 384-389. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2013.07.001
De Barra, Micheal ; DeBruine, Lisa M. ; Jones, Benedict C. ; Hayat Mahmud, Zahid ; Curtis, Valerie A. / Illness in childhood predicts face preferences in adulthood. In: Evolution and Human Behavior. 2013 ; Vol. 34, No. 6. pp. 384-389.
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