Recent work on the behavioral immune system suggests that preferences for facial cues of health function to reduce our exposure to pathogens and are stronger among individuals who are particularly susceptible to infectious diseases. Other recent work on menís immune function found that immune responses to a vaccine were positively correlated with testosterone and that this correlation was strongest among men with low cortisol. Here we combine these two recent research streams to investigate whether testosterone and cortisol also interact to influence menís preferences for health-related color cues in faces. We collected saliva samples from 51 men in five weekly test sessions, also measuring their preferences for health-related facial color cues in each test session. Analyses of these preferences showed that men with high testosterone levels generally showed weaker preferences for health-related color cues and that this relationship was particularly strong among men with low cortisol. Our results for menís facial color preferences, together with those of other recent work on menís immune system response, suggest that testosterone and cortisol have similar effects on menís behavioral and physiological immune systems.
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