International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 133–145

Preferences for Symmetry in Conspecific Facial Shape Among Macaca mulatta


DOI: 10.1007/s10764-005-9015-y

Cite this article as:
Waitt, C. & Little, A.C. Int J Primatol (2006) 27: 133. doi:10.1007/s10764-005-9015-y

In human males and females, bilateral symmetry of facial shape influences assessments of attractiveness. It is possible, however, that other primate species also possess preferences for conspecific facial symmetry. To assess this experimentally, we presented 13 adult rhesus macaques (8 females, 5 males) with computer-manipulated images of symmetrical and asymmetrical versions of opposite-sexed conspecific faces. We utilized looking behavior to assess visual preferences for these factors. We found significant preferences for symmetry, raising the possibility that human preferences for facial symmetry are more deeply rooted in our evolutionary history than previously realized. Our results also have implications for the use of facial shape as a mechanism for attractiveness appraisals across the Primates.


facesMacaca mulattaprimate mate choicesexual selectionsymmetry

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Scottish Primate Research Group, Department of PsychologyUniversity of StirlingStirlingUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUnited Kingdom
  3. 3.School of PsychologyUniversity of St AndrewsSt AndrewsUnited Kingdom