Perceived health contributes to the attractiveness of facial symmetry, averageness, and sexual dimorphism

Gillian Rhodes, Sakiko Yoshikawa, Romina Palermo, Leigh W. Simmons, Marianne Peters, Kieran Lee, Jarnin Halberstadt, John Robertson Crawford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

80 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Symmetry, averageness, and sexual dimorphism (femininity in female faces, masculinity in male faces) are attractive in faces. Many have suggested that preferences for these traits may be adaptations for identifying healthy mates. If they are, then the traits should be honest indicators of health and their attractiveness should result from their healthy appearance. Much research has focused on whether these traits honestly signal health. Here we focused on whether the appeal of these traits results from their healthy appearance. Specifically, we tested whether the attractiveness of symmetry, averageness, and sexual dimorphism is reduced or eliminated when perceived health is controlled, in two large samples of Western faces and a large sample of Japanese faces. The appeal of symmetric faces was largely due to their healthy appearance, with most associations between symmetry and attractiveness eliminated when perceived health was controlled. A healthy appearance also contributed to the appeal of averageness and femininity in female faces and masculinity in male faces, although it did not fully explain their appeal. These results show that perceptions of attractiveness are sensitive to a healthy appearance, and are consistent with the hypothesis that preferences may be adaptations for mate choice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1244-1252
Number of pages9
JournalPerception
Volume36
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Keywords

  • evolutionary psychology
  • signal health
  • beauty
  • faces
  • explanation
  • preferences
  • prototypes
  • selection
  • genes

Cite this

Perceived health contributes to the attractiveness of facial symmetry, averageness, and sexual dimorphism. / Rhodes, Gillian; Yoshikawa, Sakiko; Palermo, Romina; Simmons, Leigh W.; Peters, Marianne; Lee, Kieran; Halberstadt, Jarnin; Crawford, John Robertson.

In: Perception, Vol. 36, No. 8, 2007, p. 1244-1252.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rhodes, G, Yoshikawa, S, Palermo, R, Simmons, LW, Peters, M, Lee, K, Halberstadt, J & Crawford, JR 2007, 'Perceived health contributes to the attractiveness of facial symmetry, averageness, and sexual dimorphism' Perception, vol. 36, no. 8, pp. 1244-1252. https://doi.org/10.1068/p5712
Rhodes, Gillian ; Yoshikawa, Sakiko ; Palermo, Romina ; Simmons, Leigh W. ; Peters, Marianne ; Lee, Kieran ; Halberstadt, Jarnin ; Crawford, John Robertson. / Perceived health contributes to the attractiveness of facial symmetry, averageness, and sexual dimorphism. In: Perception. 2007 ; Vol. 36, No. 8. pp. 1244-1252.
@article{5ce0dfd9e4234dde957fe399bed0dceb,
title = "Perceived health contributes to the attractiveness of facial symmetry, averageness, and sexual dimorphism",
abstract = "Symmetry, averageness, and sexual dimorphism (femininity in female faces, masculinity in male faces) are attractive in faces. Many have suggested that preferences for these traits may be adaptations for identifying healthy mates. If they are, then the traits should be honest indicators of health and their attractiveness should result from their healthy appearance. Much research has focused on whether these traits honestly signal health. Here we focused on whether the appeal of these traits results from their healthy appearance. Specifically, we tested whether the attractiveness of symmetry, averageness, and sexual dimorphism is reduced or eliminated when perceived health is controlled, in two large samples of Western faces and a large sample of Japanese faces. The appeal of symmetric faces was largely due to their healthy appearance, with most associations between symmetry and attractiveness eliminated when perceived health was controlled. A healthy appearance also contributed to the appeal of averageness and femininity in female faces and masculinity in male faces, although it did not fully explain their appeal. These results show that perceptions of attractiveness are sensitive to a healthy appearance, and are consistent with the hypothesis that preferences may be adaptations for mate choice.",
keywords = "evolutionary psychology, signal health, beauty, faces, explanation, preferences, prototypes, selection, genes",
author = "Gillian Rhodes and Sakiko Yoshikawa and Romina Palermo and Simmons, {Leigh W.} and Marianne Peters and Kieran Lee and Jarnin Halberstadt and Crawford, {John Robertson}",
year = "2007",
doi = "10.1068/p5712",
language = "English",
volume = "36",
pages = "1244--1252",
journal = "Perception",
issn = "0301-0066",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Ltd STM",
number = "8",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Perceived health contributes to the attractiveness of facial symmetry, averageness, and sexual dimorphism

AU - Rhodes, Gillian

AU - Yoshikawa, Sakiko

AU - Palermo, Romina

AU - Simmons, Leigh W.

AU - Peters, Marianne

AU - Lee, Kieran

AU - Halberstadt, Jarnin

AU - Crawford, John Robertson

PY - 2007

Y1 - 2007

N2 - Symmetry, averageness, and sexual dimorphism (femininity in female faces, masculinity in male faces) are attractive in faces. Many have suggested that preferences for these traits may be adaptations for identifying healthy mates. If they are, then the traits should be honest indicators of health and their attractiveness should result from their healthy appearance. Much research has focused on whether these traits honestly signal health. Here we focused on whether the appeal of these traits results from their healthy appearance. Specifically, we tested whether the attractiveness of symmetry, averageness, and sexual dimorphism is reduced or eliminated when perceived health is controlled, in two large samples of Western faces and a large sample of Japanese faces. The appeal of symmetric faces was largely due to their healthy appearance, with most associations between symmetry and attractiveness eliminated when perceived health was controlled. A healthy appearance also contributed to the appeal of averageness and femininity in female faces and masculinity in male faces, although it did not fully explain their appeal. These results show that perceptions of attractiveness are sensitive to a healthy appearance, and are consistent with the hypothesis that preferences may be adaptations for mate choice.

AB - Symmetry, averageness, and sexual dimorphism (femininity in female faces, masculinity in male faces) are attractive in faces. Many have suggested that preferences for these traits may be adaptations for identifying healthy mates. If they are, then the traits should be honest indicators of health and their attractiveness should result from their healthy appearance. Much research has focused on whether these traits honestly signal health. Here we focused on whether the appeal of these traits results from their healthy appearance. Specifically, we tested whether the attractiveness of symmetry, averageness, and sexual dimorphism is reduced or eliminated when perceived health is controlled, in two large samples of Western faces and a large sample of Japanese faces. The appeal of symmetric faces was largely due to their healthy appearance, with most associations between symmetry and attractiveness eliminated when perceived health was controlled. A healthy appearance also contributed to the appeal of averageness and femininity in female faces and masculinity in male faces, although it did not fully explain their appeal. These results show that perceptions of attractiveness are sensitive to a healthy appearance, and are consistent with the hypothesis that preferences may be adaptations for mate choice.

KW - evolutionary psychology

KW - signal health

KW - beauty

KW - faces

KW - explanation

KW - preferences

KW - prototypes

KW - selection

KW - genes

U2 - 10.1068/p5712

DO - 10.1068/p5712

M3 - Article

VL - 36

SP - 1244

EP - 1252

JO - Perception

JF - Perception

SN - 0301-0066

IS - 8

ER -