Social influence in human face preference: men and women are influenced more for long-term than short-term attractiveness decisions

Anthony C. Little, Robert P. Burriss, Benedict C. Jones, Lisa M. DeBruine, Christine A. Caldwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


in nonhuman animals, mate-choice copying has received much attention, with studies demonstrating that females tend to copy the choices of other females for specific males. Here we show, for both men and women, that pairing with an attractive partner increases the attractiveness of opposite-sex faces for long-term relationship decisions but not short-term decisions. Our study therefore shows social transmission of face preference in humans, which may have important consequences for the evolution of human traits. Our study also highlights the flexibility of human mate choice and suggests that, for humans, learning about nonphysical traits that are important to pair-bonding drives copying-like behavior. (c) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-146
Number of pages7
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • social transmission
  • facial attractiveness
  • mate-choice copying
  • learning
  • masculinity/femininity
  • sexual dimorphism
  • long-term/short-term
  • guppy poecilia-reticulata
  • human female preferences
  • mate-choice
  • sexual selection
  • coturnix-japonica
  • perception
  • dimorphism
  • oxytocin
  • masculinity

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