Individual differences in dominance perception: dominant men are less sensitive to facial cues of male dominance

Christopher D. Watkins, Benedict C. Jones, Lisa DeBruine

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72 Citations (Scopus)


Masculine facial characteristics are associated with indices of men's dominance. Previous research found that shorter men were more likely to attribute high dominance to masculine men, suggesting that dominant men are less sensitive to cues of dominance in other men than relatively subordinate men are. In the current study, we tested for novel evidence for this hypothesis. We observed a negative correlation between men's own dominance, assessed using the dominance subscale of the international personality items pool, and the extent to which they attributed dominance to masculine male, but not female, faces. Such variation in dominance perception supports the proposal that less dominant men are more sensitive to cues of dominance in other men and may be adaptive if less dominant men incur greater costs if they incorrectly perceive the dominance of male rivals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)967-971
Number of pages5
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number8
Early online date30 Aug 2010
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • dominance
  • individual differences
  • international personality items pool
  • facial masculinity
  • within-sex competition
  • rivalry
  • 4th digit ratio
  • voice pitch
  • sexual-dimorphism
  • testosterone responses
  • menstrual-cycle
  • schematic faces
  • masculinity
  • preferences
  • attractiveness
  • appearance

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