No evidence that facial attractiveness, femininity, averageness, or coloration are cues to susceptibility to infectious illnesses in a university sample of young adult women

Cai, Z., Hahn, A. C. , Zhang, W., Holzleitner, I. J. , Lee, A. J. , Debruine, L. M. and Jones, B. C. (2019) No evidence that facial attractiveness, femininity, averageness, or coloration are cues to susceptibility to infectious illnesses in a university sample of young adult women. Evolution and Human Behavior, 40(2), pp. 156-159. (doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2018.10.002)

[img]
Preview
Text
171126.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

288kB

Abstract

Previous reports that women with attractive faces are healthier have been widely cited as evidence that sexual selection has shaped human mate preferences. However, evidence for correlations between women’s physical health and facial attractiveness is equivocal. Moreover, positive results on this issue have generally come from studies of self-reported health in small samples. The current study took standardized face photographs of women who completed three different health questionnaires assessing susceptibility to infectious illnesses (N=590). Of these women, 221 also provided a saliva sample that was assayed for immunoglobulin A (a marker of immune function). Analyses showed no significant correlations between rated facial attractiveness and either scores on any of the health questionnaires or salivary immunoglobulin A. Furthermore there was no compelling evidence that objective measures of sexual dimorphism of face shape, averageness of face shape, or facial coloration were correlated with any of our health measures. While other measures of health may yet reveal robust associations with facial appearance, these null results do not support the prominent and influential assumption that women’s facial attractiveness is a cue of young adult women’s susceptibility to infectious illnesses, at least in our study population.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Jones, Professor Benedict and Lee, Dr Anthony and Hahn, Dr Amanda and Debruine, Professor Lisa and Holzleitner, Dr Iris
Authors: Cai, Z., Hahn, A. C., Zhang, W., Holzleitner, I. J., Lee, A. J., Debruine, L. M., and Jones, B. C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
Journal Name:Evolution and Human Behavior
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1090-5138
ISSN (Online):1090-5138
Published Online:24 October 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Crown Copyright
First Published:First published in Evolution and Human Behavior 40(2):156-159
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record

Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
604381OCMATE Do oral contraceptives alter womens mate preferences?Benedict JonesEuropean Research Council (ERC)OCMATE FP7ERC282655RI NEUROSCIENCE & PSYCHOLOGY
672531KINSHIP: How do humans recognise kin?Lisa DebruineEuropean Research Council (ERC)647910RI NEUROSCIENCE & PSYCHOLOGY