For short-term relationships, women are most attracted to wider faces, research finds.
Men with wider faces are seen as more dominant and aggressive.
Dr Katherine Valentine, the study’s first author, said:
“Our study shows that within three minutes of meeting in real life, women find more dominant, wider-faced men attractive for short-term relationships, and want to go on another date with them.”
For the study, the researchers measured men’s facial width to height ratio, their fWHR.
Dr Valentine explained:
“High male fWHR has previously been associated with surviving in hand-to-hand combat, aggressiveness, self-perceived power, and CEO’s financial success.
Our study shows it’s also a reasonably good indicator of perceived dominance — not only that, it piques women’s interest in a face-to-face speed-dating setting.”
The study involved live speed dating in which heterosexual single people met for just 3 minutes.
Men with the widest faces (more accurately, the highest fWHR) were rated as more dominant.
They were also more likely to be chosen for a short-term relationship.
Women were also more likely to choose them for a second date as well.
Dr Valentine said:
“The fact that women wanted to see these men again suggests that our findings are robust — women aren’t just saying they are interested, they’re actually willing to be contacted by these men.
Previous studies have found that women prefer more dominant men for short-term relationships, but almost all of these studies were based in the lab and did not involve an interaction that could actually lead to mating and dating.”
The researchers took into account the age and attractiveness of the men — in other words it wasn’t just that men with wider faces (or of a certain age) were more attractive.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Psychological Science (Valentine et al., 2014).