Integrating social knowledge and physical cues when judging the attractiveness of potential mates

Michelle C. Quist, Lisa M. DeBruine, Anthony C. Little, Benedict C. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (SciVal)


Although many women find masculine men physically attractive, the perception that such men are prone to infidelity may limit their appeal as romantic partners. To explore this issue, we first investigated the interplay between the effects of men's face shape (masculinity versus femininity) and social knowledge of men's behavior in previous romantic relationships (faithful versus unfaithful) on women's judgments of men's attractiveness. Analyses suggested that the extent to which women rated masculine men to be more attractive than feminine men was significantly greater when judging men labeled as faithful than when judging men labeled as unfaithful. In a second experiment, we obtained similar results when the women in our study were instructed to imagine they were on a date with each of the men and that, while on the date, they observed him either flirting or not flirting with another woman. These interactions suggest that social knowledge about men's behavior in romantic relationships can offset one of the costs that women associate with choosing a masculine mate, increasing the appeal of masculine men. More fundamentally, these findings suggest integration of social knowledge and information from facial cues in women's attractiveness judgments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)770-773
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2012


  • Face perception
  • Facial attractiveness
  • Mate choice
  • Sexual dimorphism
  • Sexual strategy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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