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The Effect of Mortality Salience on Women's Judgments of Male Faces:

The Effect of Mortality Salience on Women's Judgments of Male Faces: Previous research has shown that individuals who are reminded of their death exhibited a greater desire for offspring than those who were not reminded of their death. The present research investigated whether being reminded of mortality affects mate selection behaviors, such as facial preference judgments. Prior research has shown that women prefer more masculine faces when they are at the high versus low fertility phase of their menstrual cycles. We report an experiment in which women were tested either at their high or fertility phase. They were randomly assigned to either a mortality salience (MS) or control condition and then asked to judge faces ranging from extreme masculine to extreme feminine. The results showed that women's choice of the attractive male face was determined by an interaction between fertility phase and condition. In control conditions, high fertility phase women preferred a significantly more masculine face than women who were in a lower fertility phase of their menstrual cycles. In MS conditions, high fertility phase women preferred a significantly less masculine (i.e., more average) face than women who were in a low fertility phase. The results indicate that biological processes, such as fertility phase, involved in mate selection are sensitive to current environmental factors, such as death reminders. This sensitivity may serve as an adaptive compromise when choosing a mate in potentially adverse environmental conditions. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Evolutionary Psychology SAGE

The Effect of Mortality Salience on Women's Judgments of Male Faces:

The Effect of Mortality Salience on Women's Judgments of Male Faces:

Evolutionary Psychology , Volume 8 (3): 1 – Jul 1, 2010

Abstract

Previous research has shown that individuals who are reminded of their death exhibited a greater desire for offspring than those who were not reminded of their death. The present research investigated whether being reminded of mortality affects mate selection behaviors, such as facial preference judgments. Prior research has shown that women prefer more masculine faces when they are at the high versus low fertility phase of their menstrual cycles. We report an experiment in which women were tested either at their high or fertility phase. They were randomly assigned to either a mortality salience (MS) or control condition and then asked to judge faces ranging from extreme masculine to extreme feminine. The results showed that women's choice of the attractive male face was determined by an interaction between fertility phase and condition. In control conditions, high fertility phase women preferred a significantly more masculine face than women who were in a lower fertility phase of their menstrual cycles. In MS conditions, high fertility phase women preferred a significantly less masculine (i.e., more average) face than women who were in a low fertility phase. The results indicate that biological processes, such as fertility phase, involved in mate selection are sensitive to current environmental factors, such as death reminders. This sensitivity may serve as an adaptive compromise when choosing a mate in potentially adverse environmental conditions.

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Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
Copyright © 2022 by SAGE Publications Inc., unless otherwise noted. Manuscript content on this site is licensed under Creative Commons Licenses
ISSN
1474-7049
eISSN
1474-7049
DOI
10.1177/147470491000800313
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Previous research has shown that individuals who are reminded of their death exhibited a greater desire for offspring than those who were not reminded of their death. The present research investigated whether being reminded of mortality affects mate selection behaviors, such as facial preference judgments. Prior research has shown that women prefer more masculine faces when they are at the high versus low fertility phase of their menstrual cycles. We report an experiment in which women were tested either at their high or fertility phase. They were randomly assigned to either a mortality salience (MS) or control condition and then asked to judge faces ranging from extreme masculine to extreme feminine. The results showed that women's choice of the attractive male face was determined by an interaction between fertility phase and condition. In control conditions, high fertility phase women preferred a significantly more masculine face than women who were in a lower fertility phase of their menstrual cycles. In MS conditions, high fertility phase women preferred a significantly less masculine (i.e., more average) face than women who were in a low fertility phase. The results indicate that biological processes, such as fertility phase, involved in mate selection are sensitive to current environmental factors, such as death reminders. This sensitivity may serve as an adaptive compromise when choosing a mate in potentially adverse environmental conditions.

Journal

Evolutionary PsychologySAGE

Published: Jul 1, 2010

Keywords: facial preference; mate selection; mortality salience; terror management theory; life history theory

References