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What Influences Your Choice Of Valentine?

10.02.2005


Scientists at the University of Liverpool have discovered why people are attracted to certain facial types when in pursuit of romance.



Academics have discovered a large majority of women prefer men with feminine facial features when in pursuit of a stable long-term relationship, as feminine looking men are not so likely to stray.

Dr Tony Little, from the University’s School of Biological Sciences, launched his study on the Internet, asking participants to rate the attractiveness of a variety of computer-generated faces. Male facial features were adjusted to make them more feminine or more masculine and female participants were asked to judge which facial type they preferred. Results revealed that most women favoured the feminised male face, but those who rated themselves as attractive, tended to prefer the more masculine face.


Dr Little explained: “Facial types indicate how a particular person might behave in a relationship and the potential benefits they could give to offspring. A masculine face is linked to high testosterone levels, which demonstrates good genetic qualities. Those women who prefer masculine men are selecting genetic benefits for their children, despite the fact that high testosterone levels can also increase the likelihood that the male will have an affair. Those men with a feminine face tend to be associated with stability and caring.”

A second study was conducted with male participants, who were asked to judge pictures of fictitious couples, rating the male’s dominance in relation to themselves and how attractive they found the female. The team discovered that women were rated more attractive when seen with a dominant male. Men who rated themselves as attractive also tended to be drawn to women with feminine facial features, such as a small nose and chin and large eyes, which are indicators of high oestrogen levels and fertility.

Dr Little said: "A man who feels that he has something beneficial to offer in a relationship, will want something in return and therefore will choose a partner who can transfer his genes to offspring successfully". “We have also found that people tend to be attracted to those who look similar to their opposite-sex parent. Your choice of partner would therefore look similar to you, thus increasing the chances of your children also resembling you. Evolutionary theory tells us that our human instinct is to promote our own genes and choosing a partner that looks like us helps us to do this.”

The team are now looking for people who are in a relationship to participate in a new interactive section of their web-site, which will explore how our face influences the success or failure of different relationships. Data from the study will also be analysed to determine which facial types can make people feel jealous in a relationship. Members of the public are invited to participate in the on-line facial attractiveness study by logging on to www.alittlelab.com

Kate Spark | alfa
Further information:
http://www.liv.ac.uk
http://www.alittlelab.com

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