Male facial appearance signals physical strength to women
Article first published online: 7 DEC 2006
Copyright © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Human Biology
Volume 19, Issue 1, pages 82–87, January/February 2007
How to Cite
Fink, B., Neave, N. and Seydel, H. (2007), Male facial appearance signals physical strength to women. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 19: 82–87. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.20583
- Issue published online: 7 DEC 2006
- Article first published online: 7 DEC 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 8 AUG 2006
- Manuscript Revised: 4 AUG 2006
- Manuscript Received: 2 JUL 2006
Previous studies showed that male faces with extreme features that are likely to be associated with testosterone (T) are perceived as dominant and masculine. Women were reported to prefer masculinized male faces, as they may consider T markers to be an “honest” indication of good health. However, it is also likely that female preferences for certain male faces arise from the fact that dominant- and masculine-looking males are signaling characteristics which may be beneficial in intrasexual conflict, and thereby also indicate potential achievers of high status, an important factor in female mate selection. Although numerous studies were built on this assumption, nothing is known about the relationship between perceived facial dominance and physical strength in men. We measured hand-grip strength, as a measure of overall physical strength, in a sample of 32 male students, and recorded age, body weight, and height. Seventy-nine women rated facial images of these men for dominance, masculinity, and attractiveness. After controlling for age and body weight, hand-grip strength was found to correlate significantly positively with all three measures. The present data thus support the supposition that a male's physical strength is also signaled via facial characteristics of dominance and masculinity, which are considered attractive by women. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 19:82–87, 2007. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.