Evidence for adaptive design in human gaze preference

Conway, C.A., Jones, B.C. , Debruine, L.M. and Little, A.C. (2008) Evidence for adaptive design in human gaze preference. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 275(1630), pp. 63-69. (doi: 10.1098/rspb.2007.1073)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


Many studies have investigated the physical cues that influence face preferences. By contrast, relatively few studies have investigated the effects of facial cues to the direction and valence of others' social interest (i.e. gaze direction and facial expressions) on face preferences. Here we found that participants demonstrated stronger preferences for direct gaze when judging the attractiveness of happy faces than that of disgusted faces, and that this effect of expression on the strength of attraction to direct gaze was particularly pronounced for judgements of opposite-sex faces (study 1). By contrast, no such opposite-sex bias in preferences for direct gaze was observed when participants judged the same faces for likeability (study 2). Collectively, these findings for a context-sensitive opposite-sex bias in preferences for perceiver-directed smiles, but not perceiver-directed disgust, suggest gaze preference functions, at least in part, to facilitate efficient allocation of mating effort, and evince adaptive design in the perceptual mechanisms that underpin face preferences.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:DeBruine, Professor Lisa and Jones, Professor Benedict
Authors: Conway, C.A., Jones, B.C., Debruine, L.M., and Little, A.C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN (Online):1471-2954
Published Online:07 January 2008

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