Women’s self-perceived health and attractiveness predict their male vocal masculinity preferences in different directions across short- and long-term relationship contexts
Research has revealed that women’s self-perceived attractiveness positively predicts preferences for male facial and vocal masculinity, particularly in the context of long-term relationships. Other research has demonstrated that women who perceive themselves to be less healthy prefer male masculinity more than do women who may be healthier. As self-perceived health may predict self-perceived attractiveness, previous findings may appear to be contradictory. Therefore, we compared the effects of self-perceived attractiveness and self-perceived health on vocal masculinity preferences in long- and short-term relationship contexts. We found that although self-perceived health and attractiveness were positively correlated, self-rated attractiveness positively predicted long-term vocal masculinity preferences, whereas self-rated health negatively predicted short-term vocal masculinity preferences. While health and attractiveness may share a common basis, here we show independent potentially adaptive relationships with preferences based on relationship context. Such preferences are potentially adaptive as (a) masculine men may pass on inheritable immunity to infection to their offspring, which may be a relatively greater benefit for women in poor health; and (b) masculine men may be more likely to invest in relationships and offspring of relatively attractive women, decreasing the cost of choosing a masculine long-term partner for attractive women. These data resolve a potential conflict between health and attractiveness influences on the attractiveness of masculinity and highlight sophisticated individual differences in preferences.
KeywordsAttractiveness Voice Face Condition Individual difference Mate choice
This research was funded by grants awarded to David R. Feinberg by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Canada Foundation for Innovation, and The Ministry of Research and Innovation of Ontario. All protocols for this study were approved and conducted in accordance with the McMaster Research Ethics Board. The authors declare no conflicts of interest with funding bodies.
- Boersma P, Weenink D (2010) Praat: doing phonetics by computer. Retrieved from http://www.praat.org/
- Fairbanks G (1960) Voice and articulation drillbook. Harper, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Feinberg DR (2004) Fundamental frequency perturbation indicates perceived health and age in male and female speakers. J Acoust Soc Am 115:2609Google Scholar
- Fraccaro P, Feinberg D, DeBruine L, Little A, Watkins C, Jones B (2010) Correlated male preferences for femininity in female faces and voices. Evol Psychol 8:447–461Google Scholar
- Jones BC, Perrett DI, Little AC, Boothroyd L, Cornwell RE, Feinberg DR, Tiddeman BP, Whiten S, Pitman RM, Hillier SG, Burt DM, Stirrat MR, Law Smith MJ, Moore FR (2005) Menstrual cycle, pregnancy and oral contraceptive use alter attraction to apparent health in faces. Proc R Soc B Biol Sci 272:347–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Puts DA, Apicella CL, Cardenas RA (2011) Masculine voices signal men’s threat potential in foraging and industrial societies. Proc R Soc B Biol Sci. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2011.03.003
- Titze IR (1994) Principles of voice production. Prentice-Hall, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
- Vukovic J, Feinberg DR, Jones BC, DeBruine LM, Welling LLM, Little AC, Smith FG (2008) Self-rated attractiveness predicts individual differences in women’s preferences for masculine men’s voices. Pers Indiv Differ 45:451–456Google Scholar
- Vukovic J, Jones B, DeBruine L, Feinberg D, Smith F, Little A,Welling L, Main J (2010) Women’s own voice pitch predicts their preferences for masculinity in men’s voices. Behav Ecol 21:767–772Google Scholar