Variation in women’s facial masculinity preference is better explained by genetic differences than by previously identified context-dependent effects

BP Zietsch, AJ Lee, JM Sherlock, Patrik Jern

Tutkimustuotos: LehtiartikkeliArtikkeliTieteellinenvertaisarvioitu

43 Sitaatiot (Scopus)


Women's preferences for masculine versus feminine male faces are highly variable. According to a dominant theory in evolutionary psychology, this variability results from adaptations that optimize preferences by calibrating them to certain contextual factors, including women's self-perceived attractiveness, short- versus long-term relationship orientation, pathogen disgust sensitivity, and stage of the menstrual cycle. The theory does not account for the possible contribution of genetic variation on women's facial masculinity preference. Using a large sample (N = 2,160) of identical and nonidentical female Finnish twins and their siblings, we showed that the proportion of variation in women's preferences regarding male facial masculinity that was attributable to genetic variation (38%) dwarfed the variation due to the combined effect of contextual factors (< 1%). These findings cast doubt on the importance of these context-dependent effects and may suggest a need for refocusing in the field toward understanding the wide genetic variation in these preferences and how this variation relates to the evolution of sexual dimorphism in faces.
AlkuperäiskieliEi tiedossa
JulkaisuPsychological Science
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - 2015
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Julkaistu artikkeli, soviteltu


  • behavior genetics
  • evolutionary psychology