(801 kB) Buckingham G, DeBruine LM, Little AC, Welling LLM, Conway CA, Tiddeman BP & Jones BC (2006). Visual adaptation to masculine and feminine faces influences generalized preferences and perceptions of trustworthiness. Human Behavior and Evolution Society in Philadelphia, PA USA. June 2006.

Although previous studies of individual differences in preferences for masculinity in male faces have typically emphasized the importance of factors such as changes in levels of sex hormones during the menstrual cycle, other research has demonstrated that recent visual experience with faces also influences preferences for sexual dimorphism. Adaptation to either masculine or feminine faces increases preferences for novel faces that are similar to those that were recently seen. Here we replicate this effect and demonstrate that adaptation to masculine or feminine faces also influences the extent to which masculine faces are perceived as trustworthy: exposure to masculine or feminine faces increased the perceived trustworthiness of the type of faces seen during the adaptation phase. These adaptation effects support the proposal that visual exposure alone cannot explain the context-specificity of attitudes to self-resembling faces and may reflect a proximate mechanism that underpins phenomena such as imprinting-like effects in face preferences.

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