Menstrual Cycle and Facial Preferences ReconsideredReport as inadecuate

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Sex Roles

, Volume 64, Issue 9–10, pp 669–681

First Online: 11 April 2010DOI: 10.1007-s11199-010-9772-8

Cite this article as: Harris, C.R. Sex Roles 2011 64: 669. doi:10.1007-s11199-010-9772-8


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 photos. The study included more complete evaluation of ovulatory status and a greater number n = 258 of target women than past research. The results did not suggest any greater preference for masculine faces when fertilization was likely. The article concludes with general comments about evolutionary theorizing and interpersonal relationships.

KeywordsAttractiveness Evolutionary theory Facial preferences Menstrual cycle Infidelity  Download fulltext PDF

Author: Christine R. Harris


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