Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Physical Attractiveness

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1879-1



The visual cues used to judge mate quality.


One of the most fundamental problems facing an individual is mate selection: how do we choose a partner? It is important that we are sensitive to the physical cues that honestly signal that one individual is more desirable (i.e., fitter and with a better reproductive potential) than another and use them to choose the partner which is most likely to enhance our chances of successful reproduction. The wrong choice will obviously have a negative impact on an individual’s potential for reproduction, so one might expect very strong selective pressures for the development of mechanisms that accurately detect cues to health and fertility in potential partners. In this context, attractiveness is based on features that accurately index health and reproductive potential.

Female Attractiveness

For female attractiveness, the two indices most widely researched are overall body fat...


Fluctuate Asymmetry Physical Attractiveness Mate Selection Attractiveness Rating Male Attractiveness 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyLincoln UniversityLincolnUK
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health and Life SciencesNorthumbria UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Gary L Brase
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA