BC Jones, AC Little, LG Boothroyd, DR Feinberg, RE Cornwell, LM DeBruine, SC Roberts, IS Penton-Voak, MJ Law Smith, FR Moore, HP Davis & DI Perrett (2005). Women's physical and psychological condition independently predict their preference for apparent health in faces. Evolution and Human Behavior, 26(6): 451-457. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2005.05.001

Physical condition (e.g. health, fertility) influences female mate preferences in many species, with females in good condition preferring "higher quality" (e.g. healthier) mates. In humans, condition may comprise both physical factors (e.g. health, fertility) and psychological factors (e.g. stress, anxiety, depression). We found that women with low waist-to hip ratios (indicating health and fertility) or who scored low on anxiety, depression and stress measures expressed greater attraction to composite male (but not female) faces with color and texture cues associated with apparent health than women with relatively high waist-to-hip ratios or who scored relatively high on the anxiety, depression and stress measures. These effects of physical and psychological condition were independent and were not mediated by women's perceptions of their own attractiveness. Our findings indicate women's physical and psychological condition both contribute to individual differences in face preferences.

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