Predictors of facial attractiveness and health in humans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Facial attractiveness has been suggested to provide signals of biological quality, particularly health, in humans. The attractive traits that have been implicated as signals of biological quality include sexual dimorphism, symmetry, averageness, adiposity, and carotenoid-based skin colour. In this study, we first provide a comprehensive examination of the traits that predict attractiveness. In men, attractiveness was predicted positively by masculinity, symmetry, averageness, and negatively by adiposity. In women, attractiveness was predicted positively by femininity and negatively by adiposity. Skin colour did not predict attractiveness in either sex, suggesting that, despite recent interest in the literature, colour may play limited role in determining attractiveness. Male perceived health was predicted positively by averageness, symmetry, and skin yellowness, and negatively by adiposity. Female perceived health was predicted by femininity. We then examined whether appearance predicted actual health using measures that have been theoretically linked to sexual selection, including immune function, oxidative stress, and semen quality. In women, there was little evidence that female appearance predicted health. In men, we found support for the phenotype-linked fertility hypothesis that male masculinity signalled semen quality. However, we also found a negative relationship between averageness and semen quality. Overall, these results indicate weak links between attractive facial traits and health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number39731
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2017

Fingerprint

Adiposity
Semen Analysis
Health
Femininity
Skin Pigmentation
Masculinity
Carotenoids
Sex Characteristics
Fertility
Oxidative Stress
Color
Phenotype
Skin

Cite this

@article{2244d8fcbd594b6b832fdde986cd0014,
title = "Predictors of facial attractiveness and health in humans",
abstract = "Facial attractiveness has been suggested to provide signals of biological quality, particularly health, in humans. The attractive traits that have been implicated as signals of biological quality include sexual dimorphism, symmetry, averageness, adiposity, and carotenoid-based skin colour. In this study, we first provide a comprehensive examination of the traits that predict attractiveness. In men, attractiveness was predicted positively by masculinity, symmetry, averageness, and negatively by adiposity. In women, attractiveness was predicted positively by femininity and negatively by adiposity. Skin colour did not predict attractiveness in either sex, suggesting that, despite recent interest in the literature, colour may play limited role in determining attractiveness. Male perceived health was predicted positively by averageness, symmetry, and skin yellowness, and negatively by adiposity. Female perceived health was predicted by femininity. We then examined whether appearance predicted actual health using measures that have been theoretically linked to sexual selection, including immune function, oxidative stress, and semen quality. In women, there was little evidence that female appearance predicted health. In men, we found support for the phenotype-linked fertility hypothesis that male masculinity signalled semen quality. However, we also found a negative relationship between averageness and semen quality. Overall, these results indicate weak links between attractive facial traits and health.",
author = "Foo, {Yong Zhi} and Simmons, {Leigh W.} and Gillian Rhodes",
year = "2017",
month = "2",
day = "3",
doi = "10.1038/srep39731",
language = "English",
volume = "7",
journal = "Scientific Reports",
issn = "2045-2322",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group - Macmillan Publishers",

}

Predictors of facial attractiveness and health in humans. / Foo, Yong Zhi; Simmons, Leigh W.; Rhodes, Gillian.

In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 7, 39731, 03.02.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Predictors of facial attractiveness and health in humans

AU - Foo, Yong Zhi

AU - Simmons, Leigh W.

AU - Rhodes, Gillian

PY - 2017/2/3

Y1 - 2017/2/3

N2 - Facial attractiveness has been suggested to provide signals of biological quality, particularly health, in humans. The attractive traits that have been implicated as signals of biological quality include sexual dimorphism, symmetry, averageness, adiposity, and carotenoid-based skin colour. In this study, we first provide a comprehensive examination of the traits that predict attractiveness. In men, attractiveness was predicted positively by masculinity, symmetry, averageness, and negatively by adiposity. In women, attractiveness was predicted positively by femininity and negatively by adiposity. Skin colour did not predict attractiveness in either sex, suggesting that, despite recent interest in the literature, colour may play limited role in determining attractiveness. Male perceived health was predicted positively by averageness, symmetry, and skin yellowness, and negatively by adiposity. Female perceived health was predicted by femininity. We then examined whether appearance predicted actual health using measures that have been theoretically linked to sexual selection, including immune function, oxidative stress, and semen quality. In women, there was little evidence that female appearance predicted health. In men, we found support for the phenotype-linked fertility hypothesis that male masculinity signalled semen quality. However, we also found a negative relationship between averageness and semen quality. Overall, these results indicate weak links between attractive facial traits and health.

AB - Facial attractiveness has been suggested to provide signals of biological quality, particularly health, in humans. The attractive traits that have been implicated as signals of biological quality include sexual dimorphism, symmetry, averageness, adiposity, and carotenoid-based skin colour. In this study, we first provide a comprehensive examination of the traits that predict attractiveness. In men, attractiveness was predicted positively by masculinity, symmetry, averageness, and negatively by adiposity. In women, attractiveness was predicted positively by femininity and negatively by adiposity. Skin colour did not predict attractiveness in either sex, suggesting that, despite recent interest in the literature, colour may play limited role in determining attractiveness. Male perceived health was predicted positively by averageness, symmetry, and skin yellowness, and negatively by adiposity. Female perceived health was predicted by femininity. We then examined whether appearance predicted actual health using measures that have been theoretically linked to sexual selection, including immune function, oxidative stress, and semen quality. In women, there was little evidence that female appearance predicted health. In men, we found support for the phenotype-linked fertility hypothesis that male masculinity signalled semen quality. However, we also found a negative relationship between averageness and semen quality. Overall, these results indicate weak links between attractive facial traits and health.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85011551514&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1038/srep39731

DO - 10.1038/srep39731

M3 - Article

VL - 7

JO - Scientific Reports

JF - Scientific Reports

SN - 2045-2322

M1 - 39731

ER -