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Illness in childhood predicts face preferences in adulthood
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution. University of London, England.
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2013 (English)In: Evolution and human behavior, ISSN 1090-5138, Vol. 34, no 6, 384-389 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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.
Keyword [en]
Facial attractiveness, Infectious disease, Sexual dimorphism, Predictive adaptive response, Behavioral immune system
National Category
Psychology Evolutionary Biology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-98312DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2013.07.001ISI: 000327830400001OAI: diva2:683453


Available from: 2014-01-03 Created: 2014-01-03 Last updated: 2014-01-03Bibliographically approved

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de Barra, Mícheál
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