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Wider Faces Attract Women — In the Short Run

Wider Faces Attract Women -- In the Short RunA new study finds that women may identify men with wider faces as being more dominant and more attractive for short-term relationships.

“Our study shows that within three minutes of meeting in real life, women find more dominant, wider-faced men attractive for short-term relationships, and want to go on another date with them,” said lead researcher Katherine Valentine of Singapore Management University.

Valentine concedes there is significant academic debate about whether physical dominance is advantageous in mating — that is, actually attractive to women. At the same time, researchers have been exploring facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) as a possible physical indicator of male dominance.

This new study, published in the journal Psychological Science, addressed both issues.

“High male fWHR has previously been associated with surviving in hand-to-hand combat, aggressiveness, self-perceived power, and CEOs’ financial success,” says Valentine.

“Our study shows it’s also a reasonably good indicator of perceived dominance — not only that, it piques women’s interest in a face-to-face speed-dating setting.”

Valentine and colleagues hypothesized that increased fWHR, due to its link with testosterone, would make men seem more dominant and more desirable as romantic interests in the short-term.

But, because facial width is also linked with undesirable traits like aggression, women would not see these men as more desirable for long-term relationships.

The researchers studied over 150 men and women, ages 18 to 32, who participated in one of several speed-dating events.

The participants were all single and they received no compensation other than the prospect of making a potential romantic match. Each speed-dating interaction lasted 3 minutes.

Male speed-daters with higher fWHR, as measured by computer software, were independently rated as more dominant. Women not only expressed more interest in short-term relationships with these men, but were also more likely to choose them for a second date. These associations held even after the researchers accounted for the men’s age and independently-rated attractiveness.

Further analyses suggest that the link between higher fWHR and greater interest in a short-term relationship could be accounted for, at least in part, by perceived dominance.

That fWHR predicted whether women wanted another date with a man came as a surprise.

“The fact that women wanted to see these men again suggests that our findings are robust –- women aren’t just saying they are interested, they’re actually willing to be contacted by these men,” Valentine said.

“Previous studies have found that women prefer more dominant men for short-term relationships, but almost all of these studies were based in the lab and did not involve an interaction that could actually lead to mating and dating.”

Valentine and colleagues plan on further investigating how these individual differences in men affect their overall attractiveness, and in what contexts.

Source: Association for Psychological Science

 
Comparison of men’s faces photo by shutterstock.

Wider Faces Attract Women — In the Short Run

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Wider Faces Attract Women — In the Short Run. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 26, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2014/02/06/wider-faces-attract-women-in-the-short-run/65508.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.