Facial attractiveness: evolutionary based research

Anthony C. Little, Benedict C. Jones, Lisa M. DeBruine

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

565 Citations (Scopus)


Face preferences affect a diverse range of critical social outcomes, from mate choices and decisions about platonic relationships to hiring decisions and decisions about social exchange. Firstly, we review the facial characteristics that influence attractiveness judgements of faces (e.g. symmetry, sexually dimorphic shape cues, averageness, skin colour/texture and cues to personality) and then review several important sources of individual differences in face preferences (e.g. hormone levels and fertility, own attractiveness and personality, visual experience, familiarity and imprinting, social learning). The research relating to these issues highlights flexible, sophisticated systems that support and promote adaptive responses to faces that appear to function to maximize the benefits of both our mate choices and more general decisions about other types of social partners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1638-1659
Number of pages22
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological sciences
Issue number1571
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2011


  • attractiveness
  • mate choice
  • preferences
  • agreement
  • variation
  • individual differences
  • human mate preferences
  • predicts womens preferences
  • integrating gaze direction
  • guppy poecilia-reticulata
  • self-rated attractiveness
  • human female preferences
  • kin recognition signals
  • menstrual-cycle
  • sexual-dimorphism
  • physical attractiveness


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