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Relationship Between Face Preference and Own Characteristics

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Published: Fri, 17 Aug 2018

  • Joseph Jordan

Studies in Psychology

In the article, Mate Choice, Mate Preference, and Biological Market: the Relationship between Partner Choice and Health Preference is modulated by Women’s Own Attractiveness, the authors question the correlation between partner preference, and partner choice. The authors address that there are many studies where the subjects analyze which person or face they deem is attractive, but what they wanted to know is if their choices in partners matched that of what they would prefer. They began to ask this question after realizing that there was not a lot of studies on this subject and on those few studies that there are the conclusions were mixed and contradictory. Through those few studies the authors were able to hypothesize that there are some discrepancies between partner preference and partner choice, and that the more of a high-market person you are the more likely your preference will match you actual partner choice.

For this hypothesis, they would test whether the relationship between participant’s face preference and mate choice is modulated by their own market value, as opposed to high-market valued individuals can usually get their preferred partner. The participants that they used in this study was fifty one heterosexual couples with ages ranging from 18-35. They then constructed the stimuli, or the pictures that the subjects would be looking at to judge which faces were healthier than the other. They did this by collecting images of 50 white males and 50 white females. In these photos, their faces were the main focus, so their hair was unobstructed and their clothing and body from the neck down was photo-shoped out of the image. They then had 100 heterosexual men, and 100 heterosexual women rate the 50 images of the men’s appearance on a scale of 1-7 (1 being much unhealthier than average, and 7 being much healthier than average. They then got a completely different 100 heterosexual men and 100 heterosexual women to rate the 50 women pictures on the same scale. The experimenters then took the top 15 rated healthy men pictures, and the bottom 15 rated least healthy pictures. With that information they constructed a prototype face with completely neutral features. They then at random selected 10 pictures of the men out of the original 50, and they did the same with the women. From this they constructed faces that would be seen as the healthiest, and photos that would be seen as the least healthy. Then the 51 couples of the main experiment were asked to rate those photos on the same scale of 1-7. The 51 couples were also asked to have their photo taken under the same consistencies of the photos used previously in the experiment. The experimenters then acquired 40 more participants, who have not participated in the experiment previously, to rate the photos of the men and women from the 51 couples on the same 1-7 scale. With this information, the experimenters compared what the couples preferred as a partner and what they actually chose as a partner, based off of how the 40 volunteers rated the faces of the couples. After comparing this data they came up with their results, and their conclusion.

This was their conclusion from the study, “The results of the current study suggest that the extent to which mate preferences predict actual partner choice can depend, in part, on own market value, at least among women. More fundamentally, our data demonstrate the utility of considering biological market theories not only for our understanding of mate preferences or mate choice, but also for our understanding of the relationship between preference and choice.” In more lamens terms, the more attractive you are, or the more “high-market” of a person you are, and the more likely you are to choose a partner who actually matches your actual preference. This is much more prevalent in women, and can be explained due to the fact that the market for partners is limited, and it is mutual; the partner that you actually choose has to be mutually attracted to you who might not be the same as person as you would prefer.

In another article, Are Smiles a Sign of Happiness? Spontaneous expressions of Judo winners, the authors were searching for whether smiling was an effect on emotion, or sociality. They wanted to find out if smiling was really due to pure joy, or was it just an act that people do in a social environment to try and tell people that they are happy. To dig out this answer, the experimenters/ authors had to first ask, when do people smile? Through earlier research on this topic the experimenters were able to conclude that there were two types of smiles: FEP smiles or Duchenne smiles were smiles that were due to pure emotional happiness, while BET smiles were more complicated, and could be due to emotion or due to social interaction. With BET smiles a person could fake a FEP smile or even hide one due to the sociality of the situation. They also took into account other older experiments, especially an experiment where they studied when Olympic medalists smiled. They found that when the Olympian was on stage or receiving the medal, they smiled 70% of the time, while when they were behind the stage or away from people they only smiled 7% of the time. With these past experiments in their mind the experimenters wanted to take a further look into this using a new and improved method to get a more definitive answer to the cause of smiles.

For their experiment the testers would observe the facial expressions of Judo fighters at the 2010 National Spanish Judo Championship. Their test field consisted of 55 judo fighters who one their fights and whose faces were closely monitored by video tape. On top of the fighters being videotaped they were also asked to fill out a likert scale (0 being none at all, while 7 being very much). They would then try and correlate the exact frame of their peak happiness and observe their facial expression. They did the same procedure with international fighters, and they then counted the amount of Ducheene or FEP smiles from the winners. After tallying up all of the smiles they came up with their results and their conclusion.

They found accounted for 33 smiles coming from the medal winners of the judo tournament, but they also found that 31 out of 33 of those smiles came while the fighters were engaged in some sort of social interaction. They also found that the fighter was much more likely to display a smiling face the more numerous and the more enthusiastic a crowd was. Through these results they concluded that happiness does not necessarily predict smiles. When comparing the fighter’s likert scale, when the fighters were actually the happiest, they were not smiling at all, rather they had their heads down with their mouths slightly agape. Smiles are mostly just a communicative response to tell people that we are happy, as opposed to a pure reaction of happiness. What the experimenters came to decide was that their tests were in much support of BET smiles, saying that smiles are determined more by the sociality of the situation. People will sometimes hide their smiles, or they will create smiles based off of what feels appropriate for that social situation.

In another article, Hormonal and Morphological of Women’s Body Attractiveness, the experimenters are trying to figure out if a women’s attractiveness of her body correlates to her ability to reproduce. There are certain things that men are attracted to like a low hip to waist ratio, with larger sized breasts. This has been proposed to promote a healthy women, due to healthy fat deposits that help along baby brain develop while it is in the womb. There have also been contradictory findings from third world countries where men are more attracted to heavier set women. This suggests that a low hip to wait ratio may not be an evolutionary attractiveness, rather a molding of what men see as attractive through manipulation of western media. The experimenters wanted to get a more definitive answer to this question, so they were to measure chemical hormonal levels that promoted fertility and compared it to their apparent attractiveness.

With a volunteer group of 33 women they had them self-collect saliva samples for an about a period of 1-2 menstrual cycles. All of these women were also photographed from head to toe in neutral clothing and in a neutral environment. The women were as well required to come in for four sessions during their menstrual cycles to do a number of various tests. Anthropometric samples were taken from the women, and their body mass index and their breast size were also measured. Their hip to weight ratios were measured from the photos that were taken from them, to keep from the discrepancies that could arise from the experimenter’s assistance performing the tests. Those photos were then taken an observed by 58 UCSB students, 31 of which were men, and 27 of them were female. The students were asked to give a rating of attractiveness on a scale of 1-7, 1 being the lowest and 7 being the highest. The raters were then asked to rate them using the same scale on a basis of long term attractiveness and short term attractiveness. The results had high agreeability, so the students seemed to agree on the level of the women’s attractiveness. The experimenters’ then cross examined the hormone levels, the breast size, and their hip to weight ratio with their rated attractiveness. With this comparison they were able to come up with reliable data, giving them the ability to come up with a conclusion.

When comparing the hormone levels of women and their breast size, hip to weight ratio, and their Body Mass Index they found that there was no correlation between them. This goes against presumptions that were made by other people before this beginning of this experiment. A closer look at those results and they realized that the Body Mass Index had a huge impact on a women’s attractiveness. So in order to test for breast size, and hip to weight ratio, they then neutralized all of the women’s BMIs. After neutralizing the BMI the experimenters found that there was a strong correlation with women’s attractiveness and their hormone fertility levels. Since people viewed women with a high BMI so unattractive it masked the true results of the test. Once they neutralized the BMI’s they were able to come up with this conclusion: hormonal levels of estradiol and testosterone could confidently predict the apparent attractiveness of the women.


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