Advertisement

Human Nature

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 383–389 | Cite as

Chickens prefer beautiful humans

  • Stefano GhirlandaEmail author
  • Liselotte Jansson
  • Magnus Enquist
Article

Abstract

We trained chickens to react to an average human female face but not to an average male face (or vice versa). In a subsequent test, the animals showed preferences for faces consistent with human sexual preferences (obtained from university students). This suggests that human preferences arise from general properties of nervous systems, rather than from face-specific adaptations. We discuss this result in the light of current debate on the meaning of sexual signals and suggest further tests of existing hypotheses about the origin of sexual preferences.

Key words

Facial attractiveness Handicap principle Receiver bias Sexual selection 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Andersson, M. 1994 Sexual Selection. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Buss, D. M. 1999 Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  3. 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
  4. Enquist, M., and A. Arak 1998 Neural Representation and the Evolution of Signal Form. In Cognitive Ethology, R. Dukas, ed. Pp. 1–420. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  5. Enquist, M., S. Ghirlanda, D. Lundqvist, and C.-A. Wachtmeister 2002 An Ethological Theory of Attractiveness. In Facial Attractiveness: Evolutionary, Cognitive, and Social Perspectives, G. Rhodes and L. A. Zebrowitz, eds. Pp. 127–151. Advances in Visual Cognition, Vol. 1. Westport, Connecticut: Ablex.Google Scholar
  6. Gillen, B. 1981 Physical Attractiveness: A Determinant of Two Types of Goodness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 7:277–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Keating, C. 1985 Gender and the Physiognomy of Dominance and Attractiveness. Social Psychology Quarterly 48:61–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kobayashi, T. 1999 Do Mynahs Prefer Peacock Feathers of More Regular Pattern? Ornis Svecica 9:59–64.Google Scholar
  9. Mackintosh, N. 1974 The Psychology of Animal Learning. London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  10. Palmer, A. R., and C. Strobeck 1997 Fluctuating Asymmetry and Developmental Stability: Heritability of Observable Variation vs. Heritability of Inferred Cause. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 10:39–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Perrett, D., K. Lee, I. Penton-Voak, D. Rowland, S. Yoshikawa, D. Burt, S. Henzi, D. Castles, and S. Akamatsu 1998 Effects of Sexual Dimorphism on Facial Attractiveness. Nature 394:884–887.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Purtle, R. B. 1973 Peak Shift: A Review. Psychological Bulletin 80:408–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Rhodes, G., C. Hickford, and L. Jeffery 2000 Sex-typicality and Attractiveness: Are Supermale and Superfemale Faces Super-attractive? British Journal of Psychology 91:125–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ryan, M. 1998 Sexual Selection, Receiver Bias, and the Evolution of Sex Differences. Science 281:1999–2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Thornhill, R., and S. W. Gangestad 1999 Facial Attractiveness. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 3:452–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefano Ghirlanda
    • 1
    Email author
  • Liselotte Jansson
    • 1
  • Magnus Enquist
    • 1
  1. 1.Stockholm UniversitySweden

Personalised recommendations