Jones BC, Hahn AC, Fisher C, Wang H, Kandrik M, Han C, Lee A, Holzleitner IJ & DeBruine LM (preprint). Within-Woman Hormone-Attractiveness Correlations Are Not Simply Byproducts Of Between-Women Hormone-Attractiveness Correlations. BioRχiv . doi: 10.1101/136515

Havlicek et al. (Behavioral Ecology, 26, 1249-1260, 2015) proposed that increased attractiveness of women in hormonal states associated with high fertility is a byproduct (or “perceptual spandrel”) of adaptations related to between-women differences in sex hormones. A critical piece of their argument was the claim that between-women hormone-attractiveness correlations are stronger than corresponding within-woman correlations. We directly tested this claim by collecting multiple face images and saliva samples from 249 women. Within-woman facial attractiveness was highest when current estradiol was high and current progesterone was simultaneously low, as is the case during the high-fertility phase of the menstrual cycle. By contrast, between-women hormone-attractiveness correlations were not significant. Our results do not support Havlicek et al's “perceptual spandrels” hypothesis of hormone-linked attractiveness in women. Rather, they present new evidence that women's attractiveness subtly changes with fluctuations in sex hormones.

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