Sensation seeking and men's face preferences

Benedict C. Jones, Lisa M. DeBruine, Anthony C. Little, Claire A. Conway, Lisa L. M. Welling, Finlay Graham Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Findings from previous studies suggest that only men who are in good physical condition can afford to pursue high-risk activities and that men who engage in high-risk activities are considered particularly attractive by women. Here, we show that men's interest in high-sensation activities, a personality trait that is known to increase the likelihood of those individuals engaging in high-risk behaviors, is positively related to the strength of their preferences for femininity in women's faces (Studies 1-3) but is not related to the strength of their preferences for femininity in men's faces (Study 2). We discuss these findings as evidence for potentially adaptive condition-dependent mate preferences, whereby men who exhibit signals of high quality demonstrate particularly strong preferences for facial cues of reproductive and medical health in potential mates because they are more likely than lower-quality men to succeed in acquiring such partners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-446
Number of pages8
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Issue number6
Early online date25 Oct 2007
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007


  • attractiveness
  • mate preferences
  • risk taking
  • condition related
  • sexual dimorphism
  • mate choice
  • facial attractivness
  • women
  • selection
  • health
  • sticklebacks
  • perception
  • masculine
  • handicap


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