Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

pp 1-4

Date: Latest Version

Facial Width to Height Ratio and Dominance

  • Barnaby J. W. DixsonAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, University of Queensland Email author 


Aggressiveness; FWHR; Prestige; Social status


The facial width-to-hip ratio (FWHR) is an anthropometric measure of facial shape. It is calculated by taking the distance from one zygion to the other and dividing it by facial height. Dominance refers to an individual’s position within a social hierarchy, while dominant behavior describes a number of traits including, but not restricted to, inflexibility, drive for achievement or power, and controlling the behavior of others.


Natural selection has shaped the evolution of human visual systems to be highly attuned to extracting socially relevant information, such as age, ethnicity, gender, and emotions from the face (Little et al. 2011). While interpreting facial expressions and displays of emotion are of critical importance during human interpersonal interactions, static facial cues also provide meaningful information relating to sexual maturity and a healthy endocrine system that influence interpersonal interac ...

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