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Proc Biol Sci. 2004 Mar 22;271(1539):635-40.

Concordant preferences for opposite-sex signals? Human pheromones and facial characteristics.

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School of Psychology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews KY16 9JU, UK.


We have investigated whether preferences for masculine and feminine characteristics are correlated across two modalities, olfaction and vision. In study 1, subjects rated the pleasantness of putative male (4,16-androstadien-3-one; 5alpha-androst-16-en-3-one) and female (1,3,5 (10),16-estratetraen-3-ol) pheromones, and chose the most attractive face shape from a masculine-feminine continuum for a long- and a short-term relationship. Study 2 replicated study 1 and further explored the effects of relationship context on pheromone ratings. For long-term relationships, women's preferences for masculine face shapes correlated with ratings of 4,16-androstadien-3-one and men's preferences for feminine face shapes correlated with ratings of 1,3,5(10),16-estratetraen-3-ol. These studies link sex-specific preferences for putative human sex pheromones and sexually dimorphic facial characteristics. Our findings suggest that putative sex pheromones and sexually dimorphic facial characteristics convey common information about the quality of potential mates.

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