No Compelling Evidence That Preferences for Facial Masculinity Track Changes in Women’s Hormonal Status



Jones BC, Hahn AC, Fisher C, Wang H, Kandrik M, Han C, Fasolt V, Morrison D, Lee AJ, Holzleitner IJ, O'Shea KJ, Roberts SC, Little AC & DeBruine LM (2018) No Compelling Evidence That Preferences for Facial Masculinity Track Changes in Women’s Hormonal Status. Psychological Science, 29 (6), pp. 996-1005.

Although widely cited as strong evidence that sexual selection has shaped human facial-attractiveness judgments, findings suggesting that women’s preferences for masculine characteristics in men’s faces are related to women’s hormonal status are equivocal and controversial. Consequently, we conducted the largest-ever longitudinal study of the hormonal correlates of women’s preferences for facial masculinity (N= 584). Analyses showed no compelling evidence that preferences for facial masculinity were related to changes in women’s salivary steroid hormone levels. Furthermore, both within-subjects and between-subjects comparisons showed no evidence that oral contraceptive use decreased masculinity preferences. However, women generally preferred masculinized over feminized versions of men’s faces, particularly when assessing men’s attractiveness for short-term, rather than long-term, relationships. Our results do not support the hypothesized link between women’s preferences for facial masculinity and their hormonal status.

attractiveness; mate preferences; menstrual cycle; oral contraceptives; sexual selection; open data; open materials

Psychological Science: Volume 29, Issue 6

Publication date01/06/2018
Publication date online30/04/2018
Date accepted by journal12/01/2018

People (2)


Dr Anthony Lee

Dr Anthony Lee

Lecturer in Psychology, Psychology

Professor Craig Roberts

Professor Craig Roberts

Professor of Social Psychology, Psychology