Discrimination of Attractiveness and Health in Men’s Faces

the Impact of Color Cues and Variation in Relation to Sex and Age of Rater

S. Craig Roberts, Anthony Little, Lisa M. DeBruine, Marion Petrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Cues available in facial skin are used to assess mate quality in humans and non-human primates. In men, perception of skin healthiness and facial attractiveness are associated with heterozygosity at genes in the major histocompatibility complex, with potential implications for securing direct benefits through mate choice. There is, however, some debate as to the precise nature of the information available in skin that is used in health and attractiveness judgments. Here we investigate whether color cues are important in discrimination of skin healthiness and facial attractiveness in men’s faces. We presented images of men judged to have attractive or unattractive faces, and healthy or less healthy skin, to independent raters in either full-color or gray-scale monochrome. Differences in ratings across these conditions indicate that hue carries additive information over that available in other skin cues (e.g. texture and tone) and that this aids discrimination of individual men’s quality, especially in judgments of skin condition. We also found significant sex and age effects on discrimination. Our results are consistent with findings from other species that color cues can signal underlying quality and that sexual selection may have contributed to the evolution of color vision in primates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-411
Number of pages11
JournalAdaptive Human Behavior and Physiology
Volume3
Issue number4
Early online date16 Oct 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

Fingerprint

Men's Health
Cues
Color
Skin
Primates
Color Vision
Discrimination (Psychology)
Major Histocompatibility Complex
Health

Keywords

  • Color preference
  • Good-genes
  • Mate choice
  • MHC
  • Red

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

Cite this

Discrimination of Attractiveness and Health in Men’s Faces : the Impact of Color Cues and Variation in Relation to Sex and Age of Rater. / Roberts, S. Craig; Little, Anthony; DeBruine, Lisa M.; Petrie, Marion.

In: Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, Vol. 3, No. 4, 01.12.2017, p. 401-411.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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