CA Conway, BC Jones, LM DeBruine & AC Little (2010). Sexual dimorphism of male face shape, partnership status and the temporal context of relationship sought modulate womenís preferences for direct gaze. British Journal of Psychology, 101(1): 109-121. doi: 10.1348/000712609X436435

Most previous studies of face preferences have investigated the physical cues that influence face preferences. Far fewer studies have investigated the effects of cues to the direction of othersí social interest (i.e., gaze direction) on face preferences. Here we found that women demonstrated stronger preferences for direct gaze , indicating social interest, from feminine male faces than from masculine male faces when judging menís attractiveness for long-term relationships, but not when judging menís attractiveness for short-term relationships. Moreover, preferences for direct gaze from feminine men were stronger for long-term than short-term relationships, but there was no comparable effect for judgements of masculine men. Collectively these findings (1) complement previous findings whereby women demonstrated stronger preferences for feminine men as long-term than short-term partners, (2) demonstrate context-sensitivity in the integration of physical and social cues in face preferences, and (3) suggest that gaze preferences may function to facilitate efficient allocation of mating effort.

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