Early studies of facial attractiveness focused on identifying facial cues that people, on average, considered to be particularly attractive. By contrast, more recent research has sought to identify factors that underpin systematic variation in attraction and the possible functions of such variation. Here we show that preferences for exaggerated sex-typical facial characteristics in opposite-sex faces are enhanced in both women (Study 1) and men (Study 2) when testosterone levels are raised. Since exaggerated sex-typical facial characteristics are correlated with indices of long-term health and sex drive is enhanced when testosterone level is raised, stronger preferences for exaggerated sex-typical characteristics in opposite-sex faces when testosterone level is raised may function to promote attraction to healthy individuals at times when mating is most likely to occur.
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