Further Evidence that Facial Width-to-Height Ratio and Global Facial Masculinity Are Not Positively Associated with Testosterone Levels

  • Tobias L. KordsmeyerEmail author
  • Daniel Freund
  • Sara Rodrigues Pita
  • Julia Jünger
  • Lars Penke



Facial masculinity, as for example measured by the facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) or the global facial masculinity index, has been associated with a vast range of behavioural traits, including dominance and aggression. Further, facial masculinity is thought to be influenced by testosterone (T) levels as an underlying mechanism. However, a recent meta-analysis on fWHR and T levels provided non-significant associations in men, which we wanted to examine further in men and additionally in women.


We examined whether fWHR and global facial masculinity are positively associated with salivary baseline T and T reactivity in 140 men (age 18–34 years), as well as with salivary baseline T and hair T concentrations in 151 women (age 18–35 years).


No associations of salivary baseline T, T reactivity or hair T levels with fWHR or global facial masculinity were observed. Additional analyses revealed sex differences in sexual dimorphism in fWHR and global facial masculinity: men had generally higher global facial masculinity compared to women, but unexpectedly a lower fWHR.


Overall, our results provide further evidence that neither fWHR nor global facial masculinity are related to T levels and question earlier findings on male-biased sexual dimorphism in fWHR.


Facial masculinity Facial width-to-height ratio Salivary testosterone Hair testosterone Sexual dimorphism 



This research was partly funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) – Project number 254142454 / GRK 2070.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

40750_2018_105_MOESM1_ESM.docx (13 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 13 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology & Leibniz ScienceCampus Primate CognitionUniversity of GoettingenGoettingenGermany
  2. 2.School of Biological ScienceUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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