Associations among facial masculinity, physical strength, fluctuating asymmetry and attractiveness in young men and women
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Annals of human biology. - London
, p. 205-213
University of Antwerp
Background: Studies of the process of human mate selection and attractiveness have assumed that selection favours morphological features that correlate with (genetic) quality. Degree of masculinity/femininity and fluctuating asymmetry (FA) may signal (genetic) quality, but what information they harboured and how they relate to fitness is still debated. Aim: To study strength of associations between facial masculinity/femininity, facial FA, attractiveness and physical strength in humans. Subjects and methods: Two-hundred young males and females were studied by measuring facial asymmetry and masculinity on the basis of frontal photographs. Attractiveness was determined on the basis of scores given by an anonymous panel, and physical strength using hand grip strength. Results: Patterns differed markedly between males and females and analysis method used (univariate vs multivariate). Overall, no associations between FA and attractiveness, masculinity and physical strength were found. In females, but not males, masculinity and attractiveness correlated negatively and masculinity and physical strength correlated positively. Conclusion: Further research into the differences between males and females in associations between facial morphology, attractiveness and physical strength is clearly needed. The use of a multivariate approach can increase our understanding of which regions of the face harbour specific information of hormone levels and perhaps behavioural traits.