Facial shape provides a valid cue to sociosexuality in men but not women

Joseph C. Antar, Ian D. Stephen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Existing work suggests that observers' perceptions of sociosexuality from strangers' faces are positively associated with individuals' self-reported sociosexuality. However it is not clear what cues observers use to form these judgements. Over two studies we examined whether sociosexuality is reflected in faces, which cues contain information about sociosexuality, and whether observers' perceptions of sociosexuality from faces are positively associated with individuals' self-reported sociosexuality. In Study One, Geometric Morphometric Modelling (GMM) analysis of 103 Caucasian participants revealed that self-reported sociosexuality was predicted by facial morphology in male but not female faces. In Study Two, 65 Caucasian participants judged the sociosexuality of opposite sex faces (faces from Study One) at zero acquaintance. Perceived sociosexuality predicted self-reported sociosexuality for men, but not women. Participants were also presented with composites of faces of individuals with more unrestricted sociosexuality paired with composites of faces of individuals with more restricted sociosexuality and asked to indicate which was more unrestricted. Participants selected the more unrestricted sociosexuality male, but not female, facial composites at rates significantly above chance. GMM analyses also found that facial morphology statistically significantly predicted perceived sociosexuality in women's and, to a greater extent, in men's faces. Finally, facial shape mediated the relationship between perceived sociosexuality and self-reported sociosexuality in men's but not women's faces. Our results suggest that facial shape acts as a valid cue to sociosexuality in men's but not women's faces.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Feb 2021

Keywords

  • face perception
  • sociosexuality
  • valid cues

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