Han C, Wang H, Hahn AC, Fisher C, Kandrik M, Fasolt V, Morrison DK, Lee A, Holzleitner IJ, DeBruine LM & Jones BC (2018). Cultural differences in preferences for facial coloration. Evolution and Human Behavior, 39(2): 154-15959. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2017.11.005 [data]

Effects of facial coloration on facial attractiveness judgments are hypothesized to reflect biologically based, “universal” aversions to cues of illness. Cross-cultural similarity in facial color preferences is a critical piece of evidence for this hypothesis. However, evidence for cross-cultural similarity in facial color preferences is weak and comes exclusively from two studies comparing White UK and Black African participants’ face preferences. By contrast with the cross-cultural similarity reported in those studies, here we show cultural differences in the effects of facial coloration on Chinese and White UK participants' facial attractiveness judgments. While Chinese participants preferred faces with decreased yellowness to faces with increased yellowness, White UK participants preferred faces with increased yellowness to faces with decreased yellowness. Chinese participants also demonstrated weaker preferences for facial redness and stronger preferences for facial lightness than did White UK participants. These results show clear evidence against biologically based, “universal” preferences for facial coloration. https://osf.io/preprints/psyarxiv/8zae5/

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