Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Why the dating game is taken at face value

09.04.2008
Suitors can tell a young person’s attitude to sexual relationships by the look on their face, according to new research which gives deeper insight into mate attractiveness.

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.

Alex Thomas | alfa
Further information:
http://www.dur.ac.uk
http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk
http://www.durham.ac.uk/news

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New measure for the wellbeing of populations could replace Human Development Index
07.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Because not only arguments count
30.10.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First diode for magnetic fields

Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.

Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the...

Im Focus: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Insight into Molecular Processes

22.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Crowdsourced field data shows importance of smallholder farms to global food production

22.11.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Helping to Transport Proteins Inside the Cell

21.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>