Is there an own-race preference in attractiveness?

Darren Burke*, Caroline Nolan, William Gordon Hayward, Robert Russell, Danielle Sulikowski

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Even in multicultural nations interracial relationships and marriages are quite rare, one reflection of assortative mating. A relatively unexplored factor that could explain part of this effect is that people may find members of their own racial group more attractive than members of other groups. We tested whether there is an own-race preference in attractiveness judgments, and also examined the effect of familiarity by comparing the attractiveness ratings given by participants of different ancestral and geographic origins to faces of European, East Asian and African origin. We did not find a strong own-race bias in attractiveness judgments, but neither were the data consistent with familiarity, suggesting an important role for other factors determining the patterns of assortative mating observed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)855-872
    Number of pages18
    JournalEvolutionary Psychology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Attractiveness
    • Faces
    • Own-race
    • Sexual selection


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