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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Preferences for symmetry in human faces in two cultures: data from the UK and the Hadza, an isolated group of hunter-gatherers
Author(s): Little, Anthony
Apicella, Coren L
Marlowe, Frank W
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Keywords: faces
Face Anatomy
Sex differences (Psychology)
Sexual attraction
Symmetry (Biology)
Issue Date: Dec-2007
Citation: Little A, Apicella CL & Marlowe FW (2007) Preferences for symmetry in human faces in two cultures: data from the UK and the Hadza, an isolated group of hunter-gatherers, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 274 (1629), pp. 3113-3117.;
Abstract: Many studies show agreement within and between cultures for general judgements of facial attractiveness. Few studies, however, have examined the attractiveness of specific traits and few have examined preferences in huntergathers. The current study examined preferences for symmetry in both the UK and in a hunter/gather society, the Hadza of Tanzania. We found that symmetry was more attractive than asymmetry across both cultures and was more strongly preferred by the Hadza than in the UK. The different ecological conditions may play a role in generating this difference. Such variation in preference may be adaptive if it reflects adaptation to local conditions. Symmetry is thought to indicate genetic quality, which may be more important among the Hadza with much higher mortality rates from birth onward. Hadza men who were more often named as good hunters were also deemed more attractive by Hadza women. These men placed greater value on symmetry in female faces. These results suggest high quality Hadza men are more discriminating in their choice of faces. Hadza women had increased preferences for symmetry in men’s faces when they were pregnant or nursing, perhaps due to their increased discrimination and sensitivity to foods and disease harmful to a fetus or nursing infant. These results imply that symmetry is an evolutionarily relevant trait and that variation in symmetry preference appears strategic both between cultures and within individuals of a single culture.
DOI Link: 10.1098/rspb.2007.0895
Rights: Published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences by The Royal Society.

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