Oestrogen Levels Translate Into Facial Attractiveness
Nov 2, 2005 - 10:22:00 PM
Women are effectively advertising their general fertility with their faces. Our findings could explain why men universally seem to prefer feminine womens faces. In evolutionary terms, it makes sense for men to favour feminine fertile women, those that did would have had more babies.
By University of St Andrews, UK, [RxPG] Scientists have found that a womans hormones relate to how attractive she is. The researchers at the University of St Andrews, found that women with higher levels of the female sex hormone, oestrogen, have more attractive looking faces.
The new study, led by psychologist Miriam Law Smith, could explain the underlying reason why men prefer women with feminine faces. It is the first study to demonstrate that womens facial appearance is linked to their underlying health because oestrogen is the hormone which impacts on womens reproductive health and fertility. These effects on appearance are likely to depend on the action of oestrogen throughout puberty.
Law Smith and a team of psychologists at the Universitys Perception Lab photographed 59 young womens faces aged between 18 and 25 and analysed their sex hormone levels. Women with higher levels of oestrogen were rated as more attractive, healthy and feminine looking than those with lower levels.
Composite faces of the 10 women with highest (left) and 10 with lowest (right) levels of oestrogen. Credit: www.perceptionlab.com
Interestingly, no relationship between appearance and oestrogen was found in women wearing make-up. Researchers believe that while make-up improves facial appearance it may be masking cues normally seen in the face.
Law Smith said: Women are effectively advertising their general fertility with their faces. Our findings could explain why men universally seem to prefer feminine womens faces. In evolutionary terms, it makes sense for men to favour feminine fertile women, those that did would have had more babies.
The research is published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.
On the web:www.st-andrews.ac.uk
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