Although men displaying cues of good physical condition possess traits that are desirable in a mate (e.g., good health), these men are also more likely to possess antisocial characteristics that are undesirable in a long-term partner (e.g., aggression and tendency to infidelity). How women resolve this trade-off between the costs and benefits associated with choosing a mate in good physical condition may lead to strategic variation in womenís mate preferences. Because the costs of choosing a mate with antisocial personality characteristics are greater in long- than short-term relationships, womenís sociosexuality (i.e., the extent to which they are interested in uncommitted sexual relationships) may predict individual differences in their mate preferences. Here we investigated variation in 99 heterosexual womenís preferences for facial symmetry, a characteristic that is thought to be an important cue of physical condition. Symmetry preferences were assessed using pairs of symmetrized and original (i.e., relatively asymmetric) versions of 10 male and 10 female faces. Analyses showed that womenís sociosexuality, and their sociosexual attitude in particular, predicted their preferences for symmetry in menís, but not womenís, faces; women who reported being more interested in short-term, uncommitted relationships demonstrated stronger attraction to symmetric men. Our findings present new evidence for potentially adaptive variation in womenís symmetry preferences that is consistent with trade-off theories of attraction.
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