Sex-Dimorphic Face Shape Preference in Heterosexual and Homosexual Men and Women
- 1.2k Downloads
Studies have used manipulated faces to test the preferences of heterosexual individuals for sexually dimorphic facial cues. In contrast to previous studies, which have generally excluded homosexual participants, we directly compared homosexual and heterosexual male and female preferences for manipulated sexual dimorphism in faces (homosexual males: n = 311; heterosexual males: n = 215; homosexual females: n = 159; heterosexual females: n = 218). Prior studies on sexual orientation and preferences for faces that were paired with masculine and feminine behavioral descriptors suggest that homosexual men prefer more masculine men and that homosexual women demonstrate no preference for either masculinity or femininity in women. In our study, we tested for similarities and differences among heterosexual and homosexual males and females with regard to their preferences for a more specific aspect of faces: sexual dimorphism of face shape. Homosexual men demonstrated stronger preferences for masculinity in male faces than did all of the other groups. Homosexual women demonstrated stronger preferences for masculinity in female faces than did heterosexual women. These results suggest attractiveness judgments of same-sex faces made by homosexual individuals are not a mirror image of those made by heterosexual individuals of the opposite sex. Our data suggest that face preferences of homosexual individuals reflect a system of biologically and socially guided preferences at least as complex as those found among heterosexual individuals.
KeywordsFace Attractiveness Homosexual Heterosexual Masculinity Femininity Sociosexual Orientation Inventory
David R. Feinberg is supported by Canada Foundation for Innovation, The Ministry of Research and Innovation of Ontario: Project # 17515, and The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada: Grant #410-2009-2924. Anthony Little is supported by a Royal Society University Research Fellowship.
- Cornwell, R. E., Boothroyd, L., Burt, D. M., Feinberg, D. R., Jones, B. C., Little, A. C., et al. (2004). Concordant preferences for opposite-sex signals? Human pheromones and facial characteristics. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences, 271, 635–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- DeBruine, L. M., Jones, B. C., Little, A. C., Boothroyd, L. G., Perrett, D. I., Penton-Voak, I. S., et al. (2006). Correlated preferences for facial masculinity and ideal or actual partner’s masculinity. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences, 273, 1355–1360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Jones, B. C., DeBruine, L. M., Little, A. C., & Feinberg, D. R. (2007). The valence of experience with faces influences generalized preferences. Journal of Cultural and Evolutionary Psychology, 5, 1–11.Google Scholar
- Jones, B. C., Little, A. C., Boothroyd, L. G., DeBruine, L. M., Feinberg, D. R., Law Smith, M. J., et al. (2005). Commitment to relationships and preferences for femininity and apparent health in faces are strongest on days of the menstrual cycle when progesterone level is high. Hormones and Behavior, 48, 283–290.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Jones, B. C., Perrett, D. I., Little, A. C., Boothroyd, L. G., Cornwell, R. E., Feinberg, D. R., et al. (2005). Menstrual cycle, pregnancy and oral contraceptive use alter attraction to apparent health in faces. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences, 272, 347–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kinsey, A. C., Pomeroy, W. B., & Martin, C. E. (1948). Sexual behavior in the human male. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders.Google Scholar
- Little, A. C., Jones, B. C., Penton-Voak, I. S., Burt, D. M., & Perrett, D. I. (2002). Partnership status and the temporal context of relationships influence human female preferences for sexual dimorphism in male face shape. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences, 269, 1095–1103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Little, A., & Perrett, D. I. (2002). Putting beauty back in the eye of the beholder. Psychologist, 15, 28–32.Google Scholar
- Penton-Voak, I., & Perrett, D. I. (2000). Consistency and individual differences in facial attractiveness judgements: An evolutionary perspective. Social Research, 67, 219–244.Google Scholar