No compelling evidence that preferences for facial masculinity track changes in women's hormonal status

Jones, Benedict C. and Hahn, Amanda C. and Fisher, Claire I. and Wang, Hongyi and Kandrik, Michal and Han, Chengyang and Fasolt, Vanessa and Morrison, Danielle and Lee, Anthony J. and Holzleitner, Iris J. and O’Shea, Kieran J. and Roberts, S. Craig and Little, Anthony C. and DeBruine, Lisa M. (2018) No compelling evidence that preferences for facial masculinity track changes in women's hormonal status. Psychological Science, 29 (6). pp. 996-1005. ISSN 0956-7976

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    Abstract

    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.