Cobey KD, Little A & Roberts SC (2015) Hormonal effects on women's facial masculinity preferences: The influence of pregnancy, post-partum, and hormonal contraceptive use. Biological Psychology, 104, pp. 35-40. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2014.11.002
Here, we investigate changes in women's facial masculinity preferences across pregnancy and the post-partum period. The majority of previous research demonstrating changes in women's masculinity preferences has examined the impact of hormonal variation across the female menstrual cycle. Hormonal changes experienced during pregnancy and the post-partum period, critical periods in women's reproductive life histories, are considerably more extreme than the variation that occurs across the menstrual cycle, suggesting that differences in preferences may also be displayed during these times. We find that women's preference for masculinity in men's faces, but not women's faces, decreases in the post-partum period relative to pregnancy. Furthermore, when compared to a sample of nulliparous control participants, post-partum participants showed different masculinity preferences compared with women who were using hormonal contraception, with the direction of this difference dependent upon the sex of the face assessed.
Biological Psychology: Volume 104