Human Nature

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 383–402 | Cite as

Stabilizing and directional selection on facial paedomorphosis

Averageness or juvenilization?
  • Paul Wehr
  • Kevin MacDonald
  • Rhoda Lindner
  • Grace Yeung
Article

Abstract

Averageness is purportedly the result of stabilizing selection maintaining the population mean, whereas facial paedomorphosis is a product of directional selection driving the population mean towards an increasingly juvenile appearance. If selection is predominantly stabilizing, intermediate phenotypes reflect high genetic quality and mathematically average faces should be found attractive. If, on the other hand, directional selection is strong enough, extreme phenotypes reflect high genetic quality and juvenilized faces will be found attractive. To compare the effects of stabilizing and directional selection on facial paedomorphosis (juvenilization), graphic morphing and editing techniques were used to alter the appearance of composite faces to make them appear more or less juvenile. Both facial models and judges of attractiveness were from the CSU-Long Beach campus. Although effect sizes for both preferences were large, the effect for averageness was nearly twice that found for juvenilization, an indication that stabilizing selection influences preferences for facial paedomorphosis more so than directional selection in contemporary humans.

Key words

Averageness Facial Attractiveness Paedomorphosis 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alley, T. R. and Cunningham, M. R. 1991 Averaged Faces Are Attractive, But Very Attractive Faces Are Not Average. Psychological Science 2:123–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andersson, M. B. 1994 Sexual Selection. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Ashmore, R. D., M. R. Solomon, and L. C. Longo 1996 Thinking about Fashion Models’ Looks: A Multidimensional Approach to the Structure of Perceived Physical Attractiveness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 22:1083–1104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barber, N. 1995 The Evolutionary Psychology of Physical Attractiveness: Sexual Selection and Human Morphology. Ethology and Sociobiology 16:395–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Benson, P., and D. Perrett 1992 Face to Face with the Perfect Image. New Scientist (Feb.):32–35.Google Scholar
  6. Berry, D. S. 1991 Attractive Faces Are Not All Created Equal: Joint Effects of Facial Babyishness and Attractiveness on Social Perception. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 17:523–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berry, D. S., and L. Zebrowitz-McArthur 1985 Some Components and Consequences of a Babyface. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 48:312–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Buss, D. M. 1987 Sex Differences in Human Mate Selection Criteria: An Evolutionary Perspective. In Sociobiology and Psychology: Ideas, Issues and Applications, C. Crawford, M. Smith, and D. Krebs, Eds. Pp. 335–351. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  9. 1994 The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  10. Cunningham, M. R. 1986 Measuring the Physical in Physical Attractiveness: Quasi-experiments on the Sociobiology of Female Facial Beauty. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 50:925–935.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cunningham, M. R., A. P. Barbee, and C. L. Pike 1990 What Do Women Want? Facial-metric Assessment of Multiple Motives in the Perception of Male Facial Physical Attractiveness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 59:61–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cunningham, M. R., A. R. Roberts, A. P. Barbee, P. B. Druen, and C. H. Wu 1995 “Their Ideas of Beauty Are, on the Whole, the Same as Ours”: Consistency and Variability in the Cross-cultural Perception of Female Physical Attractiveness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 68:261–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Galton, F. 1878 Composite Portraits. Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 8:132–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gangestad, S.W., and R. Thornhill 1997 The Evolutionary Psychology of Extrapair Sex: The Role of Fluctuating Asymmetry. Evolution and Human Behavior 18:69–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gangestad, S. W., R. Thornhill, and R. A. Yeo 1994 Facial Attractiveness, Developmental Stability, and Fluctuating Asymmetry. Ethology and Sociobiology 15:73–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gould, S. J. 1977 Ontogeny and Phylogeny. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Gowaty, P. A. 1992 Evolutionary Biology and Feminism. Human Nature 3:217–249.Google Scholar
  18. Grammar, K., and R. Tornhill 1994 Human (Homo sapiens) Facial Attractiveness and Sexual Selection: The Role of Symmetry and Averageness. Journal of Comparative Psychology 108:233–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Johnston, V. S., and M. Franklin 1993 Is Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder? Ethology and Sociobiology 14:183–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jones, D. 1995 Sexual Selection, Physical Attractiveness and Facial Neoteny. Current Anthropology 36:723–748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 1996 Physical Attractiveness and the Theory of Sexual Selection. Ann Arbor: Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan.Google Scholar
  22. Jones, D., and K. Hill 1993 Criteria of Facial Attractiveness in Five Populations. Human Nature 4:271–296.Google Scholar
  23. Keating, C. F. 1985 Gender and the Physiognomy of Dominance and Attractiveness. Social Psychology Quarterly 48:61–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kirk, R. E. 1995 Experimental Design: Procedures for the Behavioral Sciences, third ed. Pacific Grove, California: Brooks/Cole.Google Scholar
  25. Langlois, J. H., and L. A. Roggman 1990 Attractive Faces Are Only Average. Psychological Science 1:115–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Langlois, J. H., L. A. Roggman, and L. Musselman 1994 What Is Average and What Is Not Average about Attractive Faces? Psychological Science 5:214–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. McKinney, M. L., and K. J. McNamara 1991 Heterochrony: The Evolution of Ontogeny. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  28. Montagu, A. 1981 Growing Young. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  29. Parker, S. T., and M. L. McKinney 1999 Origins of Intelligence: The Evolution of Cognitive Development in Monkeys, Apes, and Humans. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Penton-Voak, I. S., D. I. Perrett, D. L. Castles, T. Kobayashi, D. M. Burt, L. K. Murray, and R. Minamisawa 1999 Menstrual Cycle Alters Face Preference. Nature 399:741–742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Perrett, D. I., K. J. Lee, I. Penton-Voak, D. Rowland, S. Yoshikawa, D. M. Burt, S. P. Henzi, D. L. Castles, and S. Akamatsu 1998 Effects of Sexual Dimorphism on Facial Attractiveness. Nature 394:884–887.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Perrett, D. I., K. A. May, and A. Yoshikawa 1994 Facial Shape and Judgements of Female Attractiveness. Nature 368:239–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pittinger, J. B. 1991 On the Difficulty of Averaging Faces: Comments on Langlois and Roggman. Psychological Science 2:351–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rhodes, G., and T. Tremewan 1996 Averageness, Exaggeration, and Facial Attractiveness. Psychological Science 7:105–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rhodes, G., A. Sumich, and G. Byatt 1999 Are Average Facial Configurations Attractive Only Because of Their Symmetry? Psychological Science 10:52–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sadalla, E. K., D. T. Kenrick, and B. Vershure 1987 Dominance and Heterosexual Attraction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 52:730–738.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Schmalhausen, I. I. 1949 Factors of Evolution. Philadelphia: Blakiston.Google Scholar
  38. Shea, B. T. 1988 Heterochrony in Primates. In Heterochrony in Evolution, M. L. McKinney, ed. Pp. 237–266. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  39. 1989 Heterochrony in Human Evolution: The Case for Neoteny Reconsidered. Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 32:69–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Singh, D. 1993 Adaptive Significance of Female Physical Attractiveness: Role of Waist-to-hip Ratio. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 65:293–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 1994 Body Fat Distribution and Perception of Desirable Female Body Shape by Young Black Men and Women. International Journal of Eating Disorders 16:289–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Singh, D., and S. Luis 1995 Ethnic and Gender Consensus for the Effect of Waist-to-hip Ratio on Judgment of Women’s Attractiveness. Human Nature 6:51–65.Google Scholar
  43. Strickberger, M. W. 1996 Evolution, second ed. London: Jones and Bartlett.Google Scholar
  44. Symons, D. 1979 The Evolution of Human Sexuality. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  45. 1995 Beauty Is in the Adaptations of the Beholder: The Evolutionary Psychology of Human Female Sexual Attractievess. In Sexual Nature, Sexual Culture, P. R. Abramson and S. D. Pinkerton, eds. Pp. 80–118. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  46. Thornhill, R., and S. W. Gangestad 1994 Human Fluctuating Asymmetry and Sexual Behavior. Psychological Science 5:297–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Yu, D. W., and G. H. Shepard Jr. 1998 Is Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder? Nature 396:321–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Zebrowitz, L. 1998 Reading Faces. Oxford: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  49. Zebrowitz-McArthur, L., and K. Apatow 1983–1984 Impressions of Babyfaced Adults. Social Cognition 2:315–342.Google Scholar
  50. Zebrowitz-McArthur, L., and J. M. Montpare 1989 Contributions of a Babyface and a Neotenous Voice to Impressions of Moving and Talking Faces. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior 13:189–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Walter de Gruyter, Inc 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Wehr
    • 1
  • Kevin MacDonald
    • 2
  • Rhoda Lindner
    • 2
  • Grace Yeung
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.California State UniversityLong Beach

Personalised recommendations