Little AC & Jones BC (2005). Strategic preferences for facial symmetry and sexual dimorphism. Human Behavior and Evolution Society in Austin, TX, USA. June 2005.

esearchers have noted high agreement between individuals when judging faces for attractiveness. Sexual dimorphism and symmetry are both thought to be evolutionary relevant face traits. Our recent work using face images manipulated by computer graphics demonstrates preferences for levels of sexual dimorphism and symmetry differ between individuals. Such individual differences in attractiveness judgments appear to reflect multiple determinants including: age, hormonal status, own condition, partnership status and experience of social competition. Results are in line with what would be expected if both facial symmetry and sexual dimorphism in faces were associated with an individual's quality and, as the individual differences in preference appear to maximise benefits to the choosing individual, the variability we observe in preferences may be termed 'strategic'. For humans, as with other species, there is no optimal strategy for mate choice and parenting that applies to all individuals. The wide range of individual circumstances would predict that preferences will be highly dependent on the choosing individual.

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