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Facial correlates of sociosexuality

Boothroyd, L.G.; Jones, B.C.; Burt, D.M.; DeBruine, L.M.; Perrett, D.I.

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B.C. Jones

D.M. Burt

L.M. DeBruine

D.I. Perrett


Previous studies have documented variation in sexual behaviour between individuals leading to the notion of ‘restricted’ individuals (i.e., people who prefer long-term relationships) and ‘unrestricted’ individuals (i.e., people who are open to short-term relationships). This distinction is often referred to as sociosexual orientation. Observers have been previously found to distinguish sociosexuality from video footage of individuals, although the specific cues used have not been identified. Here we assessed the ability of observers to judge sexual strategy based specifically on cues in both facial composites and real faces. We also assessed how observers' perceptions of the masculinity/femininity and attractiveness of faces relate to the sociosexual orientation of the pictured individuals. Observers were generally able to identify restricted vs. unrestricted individuals from cues in both composites and real faces. Unrestricted sociosexuality was generally associated with greater attractiveness in female composites and real female faces and greater masculinity in male composites. Although male observers did not generally associate sociosexuality with male attractiveness, female observers generally preferred more restricted males' faces (i.e., those with relatively strong preferences for long-term relationships). Collectively, our results support previous findings that androgenisation in men is related to less restricted sexual behaviour and suggest that women are averse to unrestricted men.


Boothroyd, L., Jones, B., Burt, D., DeBruine, L., & Perrett, D. (2008). Facial correlates of sociosexuality. Evolution and Human Behavior, 29(3), 211-218.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 1, 2008
Deposit Date Feb 25, 2009
Publicly Available Date Apr 8, 2009
Journal Evolution and Human Behavior
Print ISSN 1090-5138
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 3
Pages 211-218
Keywords Sexual strategy, Sociosexuality, Masculinity, Attraction, Faces.
Publisher URL


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