No Compelling Evidence that Preferences for Facial Masculinity Track Changes in Women’s Hormonal Status

Benedict C. Jones, Amanda C. Hahn, Claire I. Fisher, Hongyi Wang, Michal Kandrik, Chengyang Han, Vanessa Fasolt, Danielle Morrison, Anthony J. Lee, Iris J. Holzleitner, Kieran J. O’Shea, S. Craig Roberts, Anthony C. Little, Lisa M. DeBruine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Citations (SciVal)


Although widely cited as strong evidence that sexual selection has shaped human facial-attractiveness judgments, findings suggesting that women’s preferences for masculine characteristics in men’s faces are related to women’s hormonal status are equivocal and controversial. Consequently, we conducted the largest-ever longitudinal study of the hormonal correlates of women’s preferences for facial masculinity (N = 584). Analyses showed no compelling evidence that preferences for facial masculinity were related to changes in women’s salivary steroid hormone levels. Furthermore, both within-subjects and between-subjects comparisons showed no evidence that oral contraceptive use decreased masculinity preferences. However, women generally preferred masculinized over feminized versions of men’s faces, particularly when assessing men’s attractiveness for short-term, rather than long-term, relationships. Our results do not support the hypothesized link between women’s preferences for facial masculinity and their hormonal status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)996-1005
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number6
Early online date30 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • attractiveness
  • mate preferences
  • menstrual cycle
  • open data
  • open materials
  • oral contraceptives
  • sexual selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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