Cross-Cultural Variation in Men’s Beardedness

Abstract

Objectives

To test whether cross-cultural variation in men’s facial hair conforms to patterns predicted by processes of inter-sexual and intra-sexual selection.

Methods

Data were taken from the PEW Research Center’s World’s Muslims’ project that collected information from 14,032 men from 25 countries. An Independent Factor Analysis was used to analyse how suites of demographic factors predict men’s beardedness.

Results

Analyses replicated those from past research using the PEW data, showing that beardedness was more frequent under prevailing conditions of lower health and higher economic disparity.

Conclusions

These findings contribute to evidence that men’s decision to augment their masculinity via full beardedness occurs under conditions characterised by stronger inter-sexual and intra-sexual selection.

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Correspondence to Barnaby J. W. Dixson.

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Dixson, B.J.W., Lee, A.J. Cross-Cultural Variation in Men’s Beardedness. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology 6, 490–500 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40750-020-00150-4

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Keywords

  • Sexual selection
  • Pathogen stress
  • Economics
  • Health
  • Facial hair