Freitag, 22. August 2014

Perceived facial adiposity conveys information about women’s health

Perceived facial adiposity conveys information about women’s health (full download)
Rowan M. Tinlin, Christopher D. Watkins, Lisa L. M. Welling, Lisa M. DeBruine, Emad A. S. Al-Dujaili, and Benedict C. Jones (2012)


Although several prominent theories of human facial attractiveness propose that some facial characteristics convey information about people’s health, empirical evidence for this claim is somewhat mixed. While most previous research into this issue has focused on facial characteristics such as symmetry, averageness, and sexual dimorphism, a recent study reported that ratings of facial adiposity (i.e., perceptions of fatness in the face) were positively correlated with indices of poor physical condition in a sample of young adults (i.e., reported past health problems and measures of cardiovascular fitness). These findings are noteworthy, since they suggest that perceived adiposity is a potentially important facial cue of health that has been overlooked by much of the previous work in this area. Here, we show that ratings of young adult women’s facial adiposity are (1) better predicted by their body weight than by their body shape (Studies 1 and 2), (2) correlated with a composite measure of their physical and psychological condition (Study 2), and (3) negatively correlated with their trait (i.e., average) salivary progesterone levels (Study 3). Together, these findings present further evidence that perceived facial adiposity, or a correlate thereof, conveys potentially important information about women’s actual health.

Donnerstag, 21. August 2014

Women’s physical and psychological condition independently predict their preference for apparent health in faces

Women’s physical and psychological condition independently predict their preference for apparent health in faces 
Benedict Christopher Jones, Anthony C. Little, Lynda Boothroyd, David R. Feinberg, R. Elisabeth Cornwell, Lisa M. DeBruine, S. Craig Roberts, Ian S. Penton-Voak, Miriam J. Law Smith, Fhionna R. Moore, Hasker P. Davis, David I. Perrett (2005)


Physical condition (e.g., health, fertility) influences female mate preferences in many species, with females in good condition preferring "higher quality" (e.g., healthier) mates. In humans, condition may comprise both physical (e.g., health and fertility) and psychological factors (e.g., stress, anxiety, and depression). We found that women with low waist-to-hip ratios (indicating health and fertility) or who scored low on anxiety, depression, and stress measures expressed greater attraction to composite male (but not female) faces with color and texture cues associated with apparent health than did women with relatively high waist-to-hip ratios or who scored relatively high on the anxiety, depression, and stress measures. These effects of physical and psychological condition were independent and were not mediated by women’s perceptions of their own attractiveness. Our findings indicate that women’s physical and psychological conditions both contribute to individual differences in face preferences.

Sonntag, 17. August 2014

Vocal modulation during courtship increases proceptivity even in naive listeners

Vocal modulation during courtship increases proceptivity even in naive listeners
Juan David Leongómez, Jakub Binter, Lydie Kubicová, Petra Stolařová, Kateřina Klapilová, Jan Havlíček, S. Craig Roberts (2014)


Speakers modulate their voice when talking to infants, but we know little about subtle variation in acoustic parameters during speech in adult social interactions. Because tests of perception of such variation are hampered by listeners’ understanding of semantic content, studies often confine speech to enunciation of standard sentences, restricting ecological validity. Furthermore, apparent paralinguistic modulation in one language may be underpinned by specific parameters of that language. Here we circumvent these problems by recording speech directed to attractive or unattractive potential partners or competitors, and testing responses to these recordings by naive listeners, across both a Germanic (English) and a Slavic (Czech) language. Analysis of acoustic parameters indicates that men’s voices varied F0 most in speech towards potential attractive versus unattractive mates, while modulation of women’s F0 variability was more sensitive to competitors, with higher variability when those competitors were relatively attractive. There was striking similarity in patterns of social context-dependent F0 variation across the two model languages, with both men’s and women’s voices varying most when responding to attractive individuals. Men’s minimum pitch was lower when responding to attractive than unattractive women. For vocal modulation to be effective, however, it must be sufficiently detectable to promote proceptivity towards the speaker. We showed that speech directed towards attractive individuals was preferred by naive listeners of either language over speech by the same speaker to unattractive individuals, even when voices were stripped of several acoustic properties by low-pass filtering, which renders speech unintelligible. Our results suggest that modulating F0 may be a critical parameter in human courtship, independently of semantic content.

Partner Choice, Relationship Satisfaction, and Oral Contraception: The Congruency Hypothesis

Partner Choice, Relationship Satisfaction, and Oral Contraception: The Congruency Hypothesis
S. Craig Roberts, Anthony C. Little, Robert P. Burriss, Kelly D. Cobey, Kateřina Klapilová, Jan Havlíček, Benedict C. Jones, Lisa DeBruine, and Marion Petrie (2014)


Hormonal fluctuation across the menstrual cycle explains temporal variation in women’s judgment of the attractiveness of members of the opposite sex. Use of hormonal contraceptives could therefore influence both initial partner choice and, if contraceptive use subsequently changes, intrapair dynamics. Associations between hormonal contraceptive use and relationship satisfaction may thus be best understood by considering whether current use is congruent with use when relationships formed, rather than by considering current use alone. In the study reported here, we tested this congruency hypothesis in a survey of 365 couples. Controlling for potential confounds (including relationship duration, age, parenthood, and income), we found that congruency in current and previous hormonal contraceptive use, but not current use alone, predicted women’s sexual satisfaction with their partners. Congruency was not associated with women’s nonsexual satisfaction or with the satisfaction of their male partners. Our results provide empirical support for the congruency hypothesis and suggest that women’s sexual satisfaction is influenced by changes in partner preference associated with change in hormonal contraceptive use.

Donnerstag, 14. August 2014

Age Differences in Personality Traits From 10 to 65: Big Five Domains and Facets in a Large Cross-Sectional Sample

Age Differences in Personality Traits From 10 to 65: Big Five Domains and Facets in a Large Cross-Sectional Sample (full download)
C. J. Soto, S. D. Gosling, O. P. John, J. Potter (2011)


Hypotheses about mean-level age differences in the Big Five personality domains, as well as 10 more specific facet traits within those domains, were tested in a very large cross-sectional sample (N = 1,267,218) of children, adolescents, and adults (ages 10 – 65) assessed over the World Wide Web. The results supported several conclusions. First, late childhood and adolescence were key periods. Across these years, age trends for some traits (a) were especially pronounced, (b) were in a direction different from the corresponding adult trends, or (c) first indicated the presence of gender differences. Second, there were some negative trends in psychosocial maturity from late childhood into adolescence, whereas adult trends were overwhelmingly in the direction of greater maturity and adjustment. Third, the related but distinguishable facet traits within each broad Big Five domain often showed distinct age trends, highlighting the importance of facet-level research for understanding life span age differences in personality.

[The extraversion graph didn't convince me. Are women really more assertive than men?]

Geographic distribution of significant events in science, technology, mathematics, and medicine from 800 BCE until 1900

[press Ctrl & + to enlarge; full size: click at the image]

Genius in World Civilization
Charles Murray (2014)

Sex differences in face cognition

Sex differences in face cognition  (full download)
W. Sommer, A. Hildebrandt, O. Kunina-Habenicht, A. Schacht, O. Wilhelm (2013)


Although there is abundant evidence for female superiority in Face Cognition (FC), a number of questions regarding sex differences remain to be addressed. Here we report a reanalysis of data on the level of latent factors, modeled on the basis of an extensive test battery applied to three samples of over 800 adults in all. In independent samples the measurement structure of FC was invariant for both sexes, indicating that the measurement of the construct does not depend on the context variable sex, and investigating mean performance differences will not be biased by measurement issues — a neglected aspect in previous studies. We confirmed female superiority for face perception (FP) and face memory (FM). For the first time we could show that these sex differences prevailed after accounting for sex differences in broadly measured general cognitive functioning and in object perception. Across adult age, sex differences in FM increased due to the rapid decline of this ability in men, whereas performance in women remained stable across adult age. Self-reported social involvement and things-oriented activities moderated sex-differences in FM. Results show that sex differences are salient at the level of specific FC constructs and that they can be partially explained by social involvement.