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Psychol Sci. 2018 Jun;29(6):996-1005. doi: 10.1177/0956797618760197. Epub 2018 Apr 30.

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

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1 Institute of Neuroscience & Psychology, University of Glasgow.
2 Department of Psychology, Humboldt State University.
3 Department of Psychology, University of Stirling.
4 Department of Psychology, University of Bath.


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.


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

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