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Redness enhances perceived aggression, dominance and attractiveness in men’s faces.

Stephen, I.D. and Oldham, F.H. and Perrett, D.I. and Barton, R.A. (2012) 'Redness enhances perceived aggression, dominance and attractiveness in men’s faces.', Evolutionary psychology : an international journal of evolutionary approaches to psychology and behavior., 10 (3). pp. 562-572.

Abstract

In a range of non-human primate, bird and fish species, the intensity of red coloration in males is associated with social dominance, testosterone levels and mate selection. In humans too, skin redness is associated with health, but it is not known whether – as in non-human species – it is also associated with dominance and links to attractiveness have not been thoroughly investigated. Here we allow female participants to manipulate the CIELab a* value (red-green axis) of skin to maximize the perceived aggression, dominance and attractiveness of photographs of men’s faces, and make two findings. First, participants increased a* (increasing redness) to enhance each attribute, suggesting that facial redness is perceived as conveying similar information about a male’s qualities in humans as it does in non-human species. Second, there were significant differences between trial types: the highest levels of red were associated with aggression, an intermediate level with dominance, and the least with attractiveness. These differences may reflect a trade-off between the benefits of selecting a healthy, dominant partner and the negative consequences of aggression.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Attractiveness, Face, Men, Aggression, Dominance, Perception.
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://www.epjournal.net/articles/redness-enhances-perceived-aggression-dominance-and-attractiveness-in-mens-faces/
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:18 February 2014
Date of first online publication:2012
Date first made open access:No date available

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