Preferences for symmetry in conspecific facial shape among Macaca mulatta

Corri Waitt, Anthony C. Little

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65 Citations (SciVal)


In human males and females, bilateral symmetry of facial shape influences assessments of attractiveness. It is possible, however, that other primate species also possess preferences for conspecific facial symmetry. To assess this experimentally, we presented 13 adult rhesus macaques (8 females, 5 males) with computer-manipulated images of symmetrical and asymmetrical versions of opposite-sexed conspecific faces. We utilized looking behavior to assess visual preferences for these factors. We found significant preferences for symmetry, raising the possibility that human preferences for facial symmetry are more deeply rooted in our evolutionary history than previously realized. Our results also have implications for the use of facial shape as a mechanism for attractiveness appraisals across the Primates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-145
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Primatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


  • Faces
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Primate mate choice
  • Sexual selection
  • Symmetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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