LM DeBruine, BC Jones & F Sniehotta (2008). Decisions about sexual behavior are affected by the health of recently seen faces. Human Behavior and Evolution Society in Kyoto University, Japan. June 2008.

Decisions about sexual behavior involve tradeoffs between short-term outcomes (e.g. physical pleasure) and long-term outcomes (e.g. the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases). Varying perceptions of the proportion of ill individuals in the population may shift the perceived likelihood of contracting diseases through sexual behavior. We show that attitudes and intentions conducive to condom use were lower after viewing healthy opposite-sex faces than after viewing relatively unhealthy opposite-sex faces, suggesting that the health of potential mates affects decisions about sexual behavior in a potentially adaptive way. A second study showed no effect of viewing faces with attractive, smiling expressions or unattractive, angry expressions, suggesting that the previous effect was not a result of increased future discounting after viewing attractive faces (sensu Wilson & Daly, 2004).

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