Little AC, Jones BC & DeBruine LM (2011). Facial Attractiveness: Evolutionary Based Research. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 366: 1638-1659. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0404

Face preferences affect a diverse range of critical social outcomes, from mate choices and decisions about platonic relationships to hiring decisions and decisions about social exchange. In this article, in part 1, we review the facial characteristics that influence attractiveness judgements of faces (e.g. symmetry, sexually dimorphic shape cues, averageness, skin colour/texture and cues to personality) and in part 2 several important sources of individual differences in face preferences (e.g. hormone levels and fertility, own attractiveness and personality, visual experience, familiarity and imprinting, social learning). The research relating to these issues highlights flexible, sophisticated systems that support and promote adaptive responses to faces that appear to function to maximize the benefits of both our mate choices and more general decisions about other types of social partners.

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