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

Abstract

Objectives

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.

Methods

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).

Results

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.

Conclusions

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.

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Funding

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

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Correspondence to Tobias L. Kordsmeyer.

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

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Kordsmeyer, T.L., Freund, D., Pita, S.R. et al. Further Evidence that Facial Width-to-Height Ratio and Global Facial Masculinity Are Not Positively Associated with Testosterone Levels. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology 5, 117–130 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40750-018-0105-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40750-018-0105-4

Keywords

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