Little AC, Burriss RP, Jones BC, DeBruine LM & Caldwell CC (2008). Social influence in human face preference: men and women are influenced for long-term but not short-term attractiveness decisions. Evolution and Human Behavior, 29(2): 140-146. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2007.11.007

In nonhuman animals, mate-choice copying has received much attention, with studies demonstrating that females tend to copy the choices of other females for specific males. Here we show, for both men and women, that pairing with an attractive partner increases the attractiveness of opposite-sex faces for long-term relationship decisions but not short-term decisions. Our study therefore shows social transmission of face preference in humans, which may have important consequences for the evolution of human traits. Our study also highlights the flexibility of human mate choice and suggests that, for humans, learning about nonphysical traits that are important to pair-bonding drives copying-like behavior.

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