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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Human perception of fighting ability: facial cues predict winners in Mixed Martial Arts fights
Author(s): Little, Anthony
Trebicky, Vit
Havlicek, Jan
Roberts, S Craig
Kleisner, Karel
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Keywords: competition
Issue Date: Nov-2015
Date Deposited: 19-Apr-2016
Citation: Little A, Trebicky V, Havlicek J, Roberts SC & Kleisner K (2015) Human perception of fighting ability: facial cues predict winners in Mixed Martial Arts fights. Behavioral Ecology, 26 (6), pp. 1470-1475.
Abstract: In antagonistic encounters, the primary decision to be made is to fight or not. Animals may then possess adaptations to assess fighting ability in their opponents. Previous studies suggest that humans can assess strength and fighting ability based on facial appearance. Here we extend these findings to specific contests by examining the perception of male faces from paired winners and losers of individual fights in mixed martial arts sporting competitions. Observers, unfamiliar with the outcome, were presented with image pairs and asked to choose which of the 2 men was more likely to win if they fought while other observers chose between the faces based on masculinity, strength, aggressiveness, and attractiveness. We found that individuals performed at rates above chance in correctly selecting the winner as more likely to win the fight than the loser. We also found that winners were seen to be more masculine, stronger, and more aggressive than losers. Finally, women saw the winners as more attractive than the losers. Together these findings demonstrate that 1) humans can predict the outcome of specific fighting contests based on facial cues, 2) perceived masculinity and strength are putative cues to fighting success available from faces, and 3) facial cues associated with successful male–male competition are attractive to women.
DOI Link: 10.1093/beheco/arv089
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. Publisher policy allows this work to be made available in this repository. Published in Behavioral Ecology (2015) 26 (6): 1470-1475. doi: 10.1093/beheco/arv089 by Oxford University Press. The original publication is available at: //

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