Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Men with macho faces attractive to fertile women, researchers find

11.01.2011
When their romantic partners are not quintessentially masculine, women in their fertile phase are more likely to fantasize about masculine-looking men than are women paired with George Clooney types.

But women with masculine-looking partners do not necessarily become more attracted to their partners, a recent study co-authored by a University of Colorado at Boulder researcher concludes.

Meanwhile, a man's intelligence has no effect on the extent to which fertile, female partners fantasize about others, the researchers found. They say the lack of an observed "fertility effect" related to intelligence is puzzling.

The findings augment the emerging understanding of how human sexual selection evolved over time, and how the vestiges of that evolution are evident today.

The findings come from a study published recently in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior. The study was conducted by Steven Gangestad and Randy Thornhill of the University of New Mexico and Christine Garver-Apgar, a postdoctoral fellow at CU's Institute for Behavioral Genetics.

A "masculine face" has a relatively pronounced chin, strong jaw, narrow eyes and well-defined brow. George Clooney fits this bill, Gangestad suggests. A less-masculine face, on the other hand, would include a less-pronounced jaw and wider eyes, a la Pee-wee Herman.

But this does not mean that pretty boys are less attractive as life partners.

"When they rate men's sexiness, in a sense, that's when (women) show the shift," Gangestad told LiveScience, an online journal. "If they rate men's attractiveness as a long-term partner, then they don't show it."

The team interviewed 66 heterosexual couples in which women's ages ranged from 18 to 44. Their relationships ranged from one month to 20 years in length. Nine couples were married.

A host of studies has shown that women's interest in men with masculine features peaks during ovulation. But this study is the first to confirm that the effect occurs in real couples.

"The effects of facial masculinity and attractiveness fit in a larger picture that has emerged," says Garver-Apgar.

The prevailing wisdom during much of the last half-century was that women did not experience estrus, the period in which other primates signal their fertility with swollen genitals. But newer research suggests that women may not have lost all remnants of estrus.

Evolutionary biologists have documented that women are choosy when fertile, and their freedom to choose mates is increased because their fertile phase is not advertised as it is in other primates. A growing body of evidence suggests that, when most fertile, women gravitate toward males who show signs of good genetic quality.

Masculine facial features suggest that a man is of good genetic quality, because he had the resources during development not only to survive but also to expend energy on a macho visage. Rugged-looking jaws and eyebrows are signals of testosterone.

Instead of using his energy on other features or to maintain his immune system, the masculine-looking male may have had a "surplus energy budget," Garver-Apgar says.

During development, individuals make trade-offs. They can build big brains, large muscles or stronger immune systems. Brains, brawn and immunity may all compete for the same resources.

While it is not surprising that women's gazes would fall on masculine-looking men when they are most fertile, Garver-Apgar says the lack of a similar effect with intelligence is perplexing.

"That we didn't find any effect of men's intelligence on their partners' sexual interests across the cycle is important because some evidence suggests that intelligence associates with genetic quality."

But the data on the intelligence-attraction equation are mixed. If intelligence correlates with good genetic quality, Garver-Apgar wonders, why is it that intelligence is not among those traits that women prefer mid-cycle? "Why don't you see a fertility effect?"

Further research should help answer those questions, she and her co-authors suggest.

For more on this story, see Colorado Arts & Sciences Magazine at http://artsandsciences.colorado.edu/magazine.

Christine Garver-Apgar | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.colorado.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>