As a man scours the Earth in search of a perfect mate, is he more interested in a curvy body or a pretty face? Turns out that the answer depends on the length of relationship he’s seeking. “We asked men and women to go on line and evaluate an opposite sex individual as either a one-night stand or a marriage partner,” said Jaime C. Confer a graduate student in the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Texas. Confer along with fellow grad student Carin Perilloux and Ph.D David M. Buss conducted a new study featured in Elsevier’s Evolution and Human Behavior.
“There has been a lot of research on what makes a woman’s face attractive, how symmetrical their features are, waist-to-hip ratio and muscularity. Plenty of empirical has been devoted to the body as well but nobody has looked at the face as a whole vs. the body as a whole.”
375 male and female participants were asked to consider a member of the opposite sex whose face was hidden by a “face box” and whose body was hidden by a “body box”. Participants were assigned to either a short or long term scenario and were told that only one box could be removed.
Both the body and face– wrinkles, facial symmetry, waist-to- hip ratio, muscularity, breast size - are indirect measures of a woman’s reproductive value and current fertility. But in spite of these cues, men removed the body box more frequently in the short-term scenario, suggesting they only prioritize what your face looks like in a long-term mating context. Not surprisingly, women across the board wanted to see what the guy's face looked like. His body information was unaffected by the length of the relationship.
Do the results of this study surprise you?