Perrett DI, Little AC, Tiddeman BP, Penton-Voak IS, Burt DM & Jones BC (2001). Facial attractiveness judgements reflect learning of parental characteristics [Plenary Paper]. Human Behavior and Evolution Society in London, UK. June 2001.

We review work on attractiveness using both natural face images and images manipulated by computer graphics. These techniques allow cues to masculinity,age,health and personality to be captured in composite facial images.We find preferences for facial cues to age, personality, masculinity and symmetry differ between individuals.These differences in attractiveness judgments appear to reflect familial characteristics, hormonal status and social competition. Experience of parental characteristics shapes mate preferences in various species, yet evidence of physical similarity between parents and spouses in humans is equivocal. We investigated visual preferences for faces,which are less constrained by factors affecting actual partnerships (e.g. competition). We found that women born to old parents (over 30) were less impressed by youth and more positive to age cues in male faces than women with young parents (under 30).For men, mother's but not father's age similarly affected female facial preferences for long- term relationships.Thus human facial attractiveness reflects learning of parental characteristics.

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