The Durham University-led study of 700 heterosexual participants also found that young men and women look for complete opposites when it comes to relationships with the other sex.
Men generally prefer women who they perceive are open to short-term sexual relationships whilst women are usually interested in men who appear to have potential to be long-term relationship material.
The scientists say the research, which was funded by the Medical Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council, shows people can use their perceptions to make more informed partner selection depending on the type of relationship they are pursuing. The study is a significant step in further understanding the evolution of partner choice, according to the research team from Durham, St Andrews and Aberdeen Universities.
Participants were asked to judge the attractiveness and attitudes to sex of the opposite sex from their facial photographs. These perceptual judgements were then compared with the actual attitudes and behaviours of the individuals in the photographs, which had been determined through a detailed questionnaire. The people in the photographs were all in their early 20s.
The experiments found that the men and women taking part could generally judge from photographs who would be more interested in a short-term sexual relationship. In the first study sample of 153 participants, 72 per cent of people correctly identified the attitudes from photographs more than half of the time. However, further questioning showed that the participants were not always confident in their judgements.
The research, published in Evolution and Human Behavior, also found that women who were open to short-term sexual relationships were usually seen by others as more attractive – although researchers can not determine precisely why without further investigation. The men who were most open to casual sex were generally perceived as being more masculine-looking, with facial features including squarer jaws, larger nose and smaller eyes. These findings support previous research carried out by the Durham team which found that women see masculine men as more likely to be unfaithful and as worse parents.
Lead author Dr Lynda Boothroyd from Durham University’s Psychology Department said: “Our results suggest that although some people can judge the sexual strategy of others simply from looking at their face, people are not always sure about their judgements possibly because the cues are very subtle. Yet preferences for different types of face were actually quite strong.
“This shows that these initial impressions may be part of how we assess potential mates – or potential rivals – when we first meet them. These will then give way over time to more in depth knowledge of that person, as you get to know them better, and may change with age”.
Dr Ben Jones, from the University of Aberdeen's Face Research Lab, said "Lots of previous studies have shown that people can judge a lot about a person from their face, including things like health and even some personality traits like introversion, but this really is the first study to show that people are also sensitive to subtle facial signals about the type of romantic relationships that others might enjoy."
Professor David Perrett from the University of St Andrews cautioned: “While faces do hold cues to sexual attitudes, men should not presume any kind of relationship is wanted from appearance alone since women’s choice is what matters. Indeed most women found promiscuous-looking guys unattractive for both short and long-term relationships”.
In the study, participants were shown pairs of photographs or ‘averaged’ facial images of men and women in their early 20s with two opposing attitudes to relationships. The participants were asked to choose the face that they felt would be more open to short-term sexual relationships, one-night stands and the idea of sex without love. They were also asked which face they thought was the most attractive for a long- or short-term relationship, who was more masculine or feminine, and who they thought was generally attractive.
Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology
Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News