Human Nature

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

Chickens prefer beautiful humans

  • Stefano GhirlandaEmail author
  • Liselotte Jansson
  • Magnus Enquist


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 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2002

Authors and Affiliations

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

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