Illness in childhood predicts face preferences in adulthood
2013 (English)In: Evolution and human behavior, ISSN 1090-5138, Vol. 34, no 6, 384-389 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The value of different mate choices may depend on the local pathogen ecology and on personal infection susceptibility: when there is a high risk of infection, choosing a healthy or immunocompetent mate may be particularly important. Frequency of childhood illness may act as a cue of the ecological and immunological factors relevant to mate preferences. Consistent with this proposal, we found that childhood illness - and frequency of diarrhea in particular - was positively correlated with preferences for exaggerated sex-typical characteristics in opposite-sex, but not same-sex, faces. Moreover, this relationship was stronger among individuals with poorer current health. These data suggest that childhood illness may play a role in calibrating adult mate preferences and have implications for theories of disease-avoidance psychology, life-history strategy and cross-cultural differences in mate preferences.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 34, no 6, 384-389 p.
Facial attractiveness, Infectious disease, Sexual dimorphism, Predictive adaptive response, Behavioral immune system
Psychology Evolutionary Biology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-98312DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2013.07.001ISI: 000327830400001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-98312DiVA: diva2:683453