Social transmission of face preferences among humans

Benedict Christopher Jones, Lisa Marie Debruine, Anthony C. Little, Robert P. Burriss, David R. Feinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

82 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previous studies demonstrating mate choice copying effects among females in non-human species have led many researchers to propose that social transmission of mate preferences may influence sexual selection for male traits. Although it has been suggested that social transmission may also influence mate preferences in humans, there is little empirical support for such effects. Here, we show that observing other women with smiling (i.e. positive) expressions looking at male faces increased women's preferences for those men to a greater extent than did observing women with neutral (i.e. relatively negative) expressions looking at male faces. By contrast, the reverse was true for male participants (i.e. observing women with neutral expressions looking at male faces increased male participant's preferences for those men to a greater extent than did observing women smiling at male faces). This latter finding suggests that within-sex competition promotes negative attitudes among men towards other men who are the target of positive social interest from women. Our findings demonstrate that social transmission of face preferences influences judgments of men's attractiveness, potentially demonstrating a mechanism for social transmission of mate preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)899-903
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences
Volume274
Issue number1611
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007

Keywords

  • facial attractiveness
  • public information
  • social learning
  • mate preferences
  • human female preferences
  • mate-choice
  • sexual selection
  • poecilia-reticulata
  • coturnix-japonica
  • menstrual-cycle
  • gaze direction
  • expression
  • dimorphism

Cite this

Jones, B. C., Debruine, L. M., Little, A. C., Burriss, R. P., & Feinberg, D. R. (2007). Social transmission of face preferences among humans. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences, 274(1611), 899-903. https://doi.org/10.1098/RSPB.2006.0205

Social transmission of face preferences among humans. / Jones, Benedict Christopher; Debruine, Lisa Marie; Little, Anthony C.; Burriss, Robert P.; Feinberg, David R.

In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences, Vol. 274, No. 1611, 03.2007, p. 899-903.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Jones, BC, Debruine, LM, Little, AC, Burriss, RP & Feinberg, DR 2007, 'Social transmission of face preferences among humans', Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences, vol. 274, no. 1611, pp. 899-903. https://doi.org/10.1098/RSPB.2006.0205
Jones, Benedict Christopher ; Debruine, Lisa Marie ; Little, Anthony C. ; Burriss, Robert P. ; Feinberg, David R. / Social transmission of face preferences among humans. In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences. 2007 ; Vol. 274, No. 1611. pp. 899-903.
@article{cee821226bcd4d62b1e43f675c192f3b,
title = "Social transmission of face preferences among humans",
abstract = "Previous studies demonstrating mate choice copying effects among females in non-human species have led many researchers to propose that social transmission of mate preferences may influence sexual selection for male traits. Although it has been suggested that social transmission may also influence mate preferences in humans, there is little empirical support for such effects. Here, we show that observing other women with smiling (i.e. positive) expressions looking at male faces increased women's preferences for those men to a greater extent than did observing women with neutral (i.e. relatively negative) expressions looking at male faces. By contrast, the reverse was true for male participants (i.e. observing women with neutral expressions looking at male faces increased male participant's preferences for those men to a greater extent than did observing women smiling at male faces). This latter finding suggests that within-sex competition promotes negative attitudes among men towards other men who are the target of positive social interest from women. Our findings demonstrate that social transmission of face preferences influences judgments of men's attractiveness, potentially demonstrating a mechanism for social transmission of mate preferences.",
keywords = "facial attractiveness, public information, social learning, mate preferences, human female preferences, mate-choice, sexual selection, poecilia-reticulata, coturnix-japonica, menstrual-cycle, gaze direction, expression, dimorphism",
author = "Jones, {Benedict Christopher} and Debruine, {Lisa Marie} and Little, {Anthony C.} and Burriss, {Robert P.} and Feinberg, {David R.}",
year = "2007",
month = "3",
doi = "10.1098/RSPB.2006.0205",
language = "English",
volume = "274",
pages = "899--903",
journal = "Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences",
issn = "0962-8452",
publisher = "ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY",
number = "1611",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Social transmission of face preferences among humans

AU - Jones, Benedict Christopher

AU - Debruine, Lisa Marie

AU - Little, Anthony C.

AU - Burriss, Robert P.

AU - Feinberg, David R.

PY - 2007/3

Y1 - 2007/3

N2 - Previous studies demonstrating mate choice copying effects among females in non-human species have led many researchers to propose that social transmission of mate preferences may influence sexual selection for male traits. Although it has been suggested that social transmission may also influence mate preferences in humans, there is little empirical support for such effects. Here, we show that observing other women with smiling (i.e. positive) expressions looking at male faces increased women's preferences for those men to a greater extent than did observing women with neutral (i.e. relatively negative) expressions looking at male faces. By contrast, the reverse was true for male participants (i.e. observing women with neutral expressions looking at male faces increased male participant's preferences for those men to a greater extent than did observing women smiling at male faces). This latter finding suggests that within-sex competition promotes negative attitudes among men towards other men who are the target of positive social interest from women. Our findings demonstrate that social transmission of face preferences influences judgments of men's attractiveness, potentially demonstrating a mechanism for social transmission of mate preferences.

AB - Previous studies demonstrating mate choice copying effects among females in non-human species have led many researchers to propose that social transmission of mate preferences may influence sexual selection for male traits. Although it has been suggested that social transmission may also influence mate preferences in humans, there is little empirical support for such effects. Here, we show that observing other women with smiling (i.e. positive) expressions looking at male faces increased women's preferences for those men to a greater extent than did observing women with neutral (i.e. relatively negative) expressions looking at male faces. By contrast, the reverse was true for male participants (i.e. observing women with neutral expressions looking at male faces increased male participant's preferences for those men to a greater extent than did observing women smiling at male faces). This latter finding suggests that within-sex competition promotes negative attitudes among men towards other men who are the target of positive social interest from women. Our findings demonstrate that social transmission of face preferences influences judgments of men's attractiveness, potentially demonstrating a mechanism for social transmission of mate preferences.

KW - facial attractiveness

KW - public information

KW - social learning

KW - mate preferences

KW - human female preferences

KW - mate-choice

KW - sexual selection

KW - poecilia-reticulata

KW - coturnix-japonica

KW - menstrual-cycle

KW - gaze direction

KW - expression

KW - dimorphism

U2 - 10.1098/RSPB.2006.0205

DO - 10.1098/RSPB.2006.0205

M3 - Article

VL - 274

SP - 899

EP - 903

JO - Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences

JF - Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences

SN - 0962-8452

IS - 1611

ER -