Bartlome R & Lee A (2023) Facial attractiveness, but not facial masculinity, is used as a cue to paternal involvement in fathers.. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40750-023-00217-y
Facial femininity in men is purportedly used as a cue by women as a signal of paternal involvement. However, evidence for this claim is questionable. Previous findings have shown that paternal involvement is linked to testosterone, but have not investigated facial masculinity directly, while other studies have found that facial masculinity is negatively associated with perceptions of paternal involvement but do not assess the accuracy of this judgement. Here, we assess whether facial masculinity in men is used as a cue to paternal involvement, and whether this cue is accurate.
We collected facial photographs of 259 men (156 of which were fathers) who also completed self-report measures of paternal involvement. Facial images were then rated by a separate group of raters on facial masculinity, attractiveness, and perceived paternal involvement. Shape sexual dimorphism was also calculated from the images using geometric morphometrics.
We found that facial masculinity was not associated with perceptions of paternal involvement, nor was it related with self-reported paternal involvement. Interestingly, facial attractiveness was negatively associated with perceptions of paternal involvement, and we found partial evidence that facial attractiveness was also negatively associated with self-reported paternal involvement.
These findings challenge the hypothesis that sexual dimorphism is used as a cue to paternal involvement, and perhaps indicate that facial attractiveness is more important for this judgement instead.
Attraction; Mate preference; Sexual dimorphism; Parental effort; Paternal investment; Face perception
Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online
Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology