Female facial attractiveness increases during the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle

S. Craig Roberts, Jan Havlicek, Jaroslav Flegr, Martina Hruskova, Anthony C. Little, Benedict C. Jones, David I. Perrett, Marion Petrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

186 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The lack of obvious visible manifestations of ovulation in human females, compared with the prominent sexual swellings of many primates, has led to the idea that human ovulation is concealed. While human ovulation is clearly not advertised to the same extent as in some other species, we show here that both men and women judge photographs of women's faces that were taken in the fertile window of the menstrual cycle as more attractive than photographs taken during the luteal phase. This indicates the existence of visible cues to ovulation in the human face, and is consistent with similar cyclical changes observed for preferences of female body odour. This heightened allure could be an adaptive mechanism for raising a female's relative value in the mating market at the time in the cycle when the probability of conception is at its highest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S270-S272
Number of pages3
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume271
Issue numberSUPPL. 5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2004

Keywords

  • Beauty
  • Facial attractiveness
  • Mate choice
  • Monogamy
  • Oestrus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

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  • Cite this

    Roberts, S. C., Havlicek, J., Flegr, J., Hruskova, M., Little, A. C., Jones, B. C., Perrett, D. I., & Petrie, M. (2004). Female facial attractiveness increases during the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 271(SUPPL. 5), S270-S272. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2004.0174