Facial attractiveness judgements reflect learning of parental age characteristics

David I. Perrett, Ian S. Penton-Voak, Anthony C. Little, Bernard P. Tiddeman, D. Michael Burt, Natalie Schmidt, Roz Oxley, Nicholas Kinloch, Louise Barrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Mate preferences are shaped by infant experience of parental characteristics in a wide variety of species. Similar processes in humans may lead to physical similarity between parents and mates, yet this possibility has received little attention. The age of parents is one salient physical characteristic that offspring may attend to. The current study used computer-graphic faces to examine how preferences for age in faces were influenced by parental age. We found that women born to 'old' parents (over 30) were less impressed by youth, and more attracted to age cues in male faces than women with 'young' parents (under 30). For men, preferences for female faces were influenced by their mother's age and not their father's age, but only for long-term relationships. These data indicate that judgements of facial attractiveness in humans reflect the learning of parental characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)873-880
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume269
Issue number1494
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2002

Keywords

  • Age preference
  • Early visual experience
  • Facial attractiveness
  • Parental characteristics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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