Menstrual Cycle and Facial Preferences Reconsidered

  title={Menstrual Cycle and Facial Preferences Reconsidered},
  author={Christine R. Harris},
  journal={Sex Roles},
  pages={669 - 681}
  • C. Harris
  • Published 11 April 2010
  • Psychology
  • Sex Roles
Two previous articles reported that women prefer less feminized male faces during the fertile phase of their menstrual cycle, supposedly reflecting an evolved mating strategy whereby women choose mates of maximum genetic quality when conception is likely. The current article contends this theory rests on several questionable assumptions about human ancestral mating systems. A new empirical test also was conducted: 853 adults, primarily from North America, evaluated facial attractiveness of… 
Changes in preference for male faces during the menstrual cycle in a Spanish population
It is found that women using hormonal contraceptives tend to prefer men with less masculine faces, and some of the evidences supporting the oestrus hypothesis in humans must be reviewed, incorporating data from different socio-cultural and ethnic populations.
Shifts in Masculinity Preferences Across the Menstrual Cycle: Still Not There
Harris (2011) failed to find support for the popular hypothesis that women are attracted to masculine-faced men when conception is likely but attracted to feminine-faced men during other menstrual
Meta-Analysis of Menstrual Cycle Effects on Women’s Mate Preferences
In evolutionary psychology predictions, women’s mate preferences shift between fertile and nonfertile times of the month to reflect ancestral fitness benefits. Our meta-analytic test involving 58
Women’s Preferences for Male Facial Features
Due to human biparental care, we might expect few differences in the characteristics that men and women find attractive in opposite-sex faces. Indeed, evidence shows that both men and women prefer
Facial attractiveness: evolutionary based research
The research relating to these issues highlights flexible, sophisticated systems that support and promote adaptive responses to faces that appear to function to maximize the benefits of both the authors' mate choices and more general decisions about other types of social partners.


Menstrual cycle alters face preference
It is shown that female preference for secondary sexual traits in male face shapes varies with the probability of conception across the menstrual cycle, similar to that of men with low fluctuating asymmetry.
Female preference for male faces changes cyclically: Further evidence
Effects of sexual dimorphism on facial attractiveness
The results of asking subjects to choose the most attractive faces from continua that enhanced or diminished differences between the average shape of female and male faces indicate a selection pressure that limits sexual dimorphism and encourages neoteny in humans.
Men's and Women's Mating Preferences: Distinct Evolutionary Mechanisms?
Direct tests of assumptions, consideration of confounds with gender, and examination of the same variables for both sexes suggest men and women are remarkably similar, and cross-species comparisons indicate that humans do not evidence mating mechanisms indicative of short-term mating.
Person Perception Across the Menstrual Cycle: Hormonal Influences on Social-Cognitive Functioning
It is demonstrated that women's cycle-dependent attentiveness to “maleness” also extends to basic aspects of the person-perception process, and during the phase of high conception risk, women displayed an enhanced ability both to categorize men and to access associated category-related material from semantic memory.
Testosterone increases perceived dominance but not attractiveness in human males
The authors' data indicate that high testosterone faces reveal dominance, and there is no evidence of directional selection for increased (or decreased) testosterone in terms of attractiveness to the opposite sex, contrary to predictions.
Second to fourth digit ratio, testosterone and perceived male dominance
High prenatal levels of testosterone serve to ‘organize’ male facial features to subsequently reflect dominance and masculine characteristics presumably activated during puberty, and attractiveness is not directly related to testosterone levels.
Does sexual dimorphism in human faces signal health?
The results support the immunocompetence-handicap hypothesis for male faces in that masculine traits signalled health during adolescence, but suggest that any health-related evolutionary benefits obtained from preferences for attractive facial traits may be weak.
Sex differences in human mate preferences: Evolutionary hypotheses tested in 37 cultures
  • D. Buss
  • Psychology
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • 1989
Abstract Contemporary mate preferences can provide important clues to human reproductive history. Little is known about which characteristics people value in potential mates. Five predictions were