(497 kB) LM DeBruine, BC Jones, JM Tybur, D Lieberman & V Griskevicius (2009). Women's preferences for masculinity in male faces are predicted by pathogen disgust, but not moral or sexual disgust. European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association in St Andrews, Scotland. April 2009.

Because women’s preferences for male masculinity reflect tradeoffs between indirect benefits of greater genetic health and direct costs of lower paternal investment, variables that affect the importance of these costs and benefits also affect masculinity preferences. Concern about disease and pathogens may be one such variable. Here we show that disgust sensitivity in the pathogen domain is positively correlated with facial masculinity preferences, but disgust sensitivity in the moral and sexual domains are not. Our findings present novel evidence that systematic variation in women’s preferences for masculine men reflects factors that influence how women resolve the tradeoff between the indirect benefits and the direct costs associated with choosing a masculine partner.

Disclaimer: The information found and the views expressed in these homepages are not the responsibility of the University of Glasgow nor do they reflect institutional policy.