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Summary: The Psychology of Attractiveness Podcast focuses on the scientific study of human attraction. Every month Dr. Rob Burriss shines a light on the most fascinating new research on attraction, jealousy, lust and love. Recent topics include: what is the evolutionary purpose of oral sex? Why do 75% of ovulating women wear red? And how do tattoos attract men, and guitars attract women? Join Rob to find out the answers to all these questions and more! Episodes last 10-15 minutes and sometimes feature interviews with researchers.
How we tell the difference between two attractive faces, how hypochondria influences your partner preferences, and Meet the Parents: why mum and dad so often disapprove of who their children bring home to dinner. Download the MP3 Rate me! Rate, review, or listen in iTunes or in Stitcher. Why do our parents so often disapprove of our romantic choices? Perilloux et al. explain all in their recent paper. The articles covered in the show: Perilloux, C., Fleischman, D. S., & Buss, D. M. (2011). Meet the parents: Parent-offspring convergence and divergence in mate preferences. Personality and Individual Differences, 50(2), 253-258. Read summaryBailey, D. H., Durante, K. M., & Geary, D. C. (in press). Men's perception of women's attractiveness is calibrated to relative mate value and dominance of the women's partner. Evolution and Human Behavior. Read summaryLittle, A. C., DeBruine, L. M., & Jones, B. C. (in press). Exposure to visual cues of pathogen contagion changes preferences for masculinity and symmetry in opposite-sex faces. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B. Read summary
How the length of a man’s fingers can tell you how likely he is to commit, whether taking the contraceptive pill makes you more jealous, and the relationship between your postal code and the size of your boyfriend’s biceps. Download the MP3 Rate me! Rate, review, or listen in iTunes or in Stitcher. The effects of the pill on a woman's biology are obvious, but what does a daily dose of the oral contraceptive do for her psychology? Cobey and colleagues decided to investigate. The articles covered in the show: Schwarz, S., Mustafić, M., Hassebrauck, M., & Jörg, J. (in press). Short- and long-term relationship orientation and 2D:4D finger-length ratio. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Read summaryCobey, K. D., Pollet, T. V., Roberts, S. C., & Buunk, A. P. (2011). Hormonal birth control use and relationship jealousy: Evidence for estrogen dosage effects. Personality and Individual Differences, 50(2), 315-317. Read summarySnyder, J. K., Fessler, D. M. T., Tiokhin, L., Frederick, D. A., Woo Lee, S., & Navarrete, C. D. (in press). Trade-offs in a dangerous world: women's fear of crime predicts preferences for aggressive and formidable mate. Evolution and Human Behavior. Read summary
Can a GSOH snag you an STR? Are you more likely to be dumped after an affair with a man or a woman? And how does voting in an election turn you into a porn addict? Download the MP3 Rate me! Rate, review, or listen in iTunes or in Stitcher. When adult movie star Mary Carey stood for election as governor of California, it seemed more than a little bizarre (even when she lost to a cyborg bodybuilder). But new research by Markey and Markey shows that politics and porn might be more closely linked than even Carey had considered. The articles covered in the show: Kelley, T. C., & Hare, J. F. (2010). Pair-bonded humans conform to sexual stereotypes in web-based advertisements for extra-marital partners. Evolutionary Psychology, 8(3), 561-572. Read paperConfer, J. C., & Cloud, M. D. (2011). Sex differences in response to imagining a partner’s heterosexual or homosexual affair. Personality and Individual Differences, 50(2), 129-134. Read summaryMarkey, P. M., & Markey, C. N. (2010). Changes in pornography-seeking behaviors following political elections: an examination of the challenge hypothesis. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31(6), 442-446. Read summary
How partner preferences develop as we move from adolescence to adulthood. We also find out when a woman is most likely to sleep with a stranger, discover how to go about designing the perfect partner, and learn whether big breasts are more popular in New Guinea or New Zealand. Download the MP3 Rate me! Rate, review, or listen in iTunes or in Stitcher. How do our partner preference evolve through adolescence? Tamsin Saxton reveals all in a new paper out this month. The articles covered in the show: Saxton, T. K., Kohoutova, D., Roberts, S. C., Jones, B. C., DeBruine, L. M., & Havlicek, J. (2010). Age, puberty and attractiveness judgments in adolescents. Personality and Individual Differences, 49(8), 857-862. Read summaryGangestad, S. W., Thornhill, R., & Garver-Apgar, C. E. (2010a). Fertility in the cycle predicts women's interest in sexual opportunism. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31(6), 400-411. Read summaryGangestad, S. W., Thornhill, R., & Garver-Apgar, C. E. (2010b). Men's facial masculinity predicts changes in their female partners' sexual interests across the ovulatory cycle, whereas men's intelligence does not. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31(6), 412-424. Read summaryEdlund, J. E., & Sagarin, B. J. (2010). Mate value and mate preferences: An investigation into decisions made with and without constraints. Personality and Individual Differences, 49(8), 835-839. Read summaryDixson, B. J., Vasey, P. L., Sagata, K., Sibanda, N., Linklater, W. L., & Dixson, A. F. (In press). Men’s preferences for women’s breast morphology in New Zealand, Samoa, and Papua New Guinea. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Read summary
Is it possible to tell whether someone is gay, straight or bi just by looking at them? We also find out once and for all which colour of clothing is the best for boosting beauty, and discover the surprising truth about attractiveness and self-esteem. Download the MP3 Rate me! Rate, review, or listen in iTunes or in Stitcher. The articles covered in the show: Freeman, J. B., Johnson, K. L., Ambady, N., & Rule, N. O. (In press). Sexual orientation perception involves gendered facial cues. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Read summaryRoberts, S. C., Owen, R. C., & Havlíček, J. (2010). Distinguishing between perceiver and wearer effects in clothing color-associated attributions. Evolutionary Psychology, 8(3), 350-364. Read articleMares, S. H. W., de Leeuw, R. N. H., Scholte, R. H. J., & Engels, R. C. M. E. (2010). Facial attractiveness and self-esteem in adolescence. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 39(5), 627-637. Read summary
Why the face is sometimes more important than the body, and why the body is sometimes more important than the face. Also, how being the object of another's affection boosts your own feelings of desire, and how your IQ influences the kind of partners you prefer. Download the MP3 Rate me! Rate, review, or listen in iTunes or in Stitcher. New research out this month shows that we find people attractive if they find US attractive.The articles covered in the show: Confer, J. C., Perilloux, C., & Buss, D. M. (In press). More than just a pretty face: men's priority shifts toward bodily attractiveness in short-term versus long-term mating contexts. Evolution and Human Behavior. Read summaryStanik, C. E., & Ellsworth, P. C. (2010). Who cares about marrying a rich man? Intelligence and variation in women’s mate preferences. Human Nature, 21(2), 203-217. Read summaryGreitemeyer, T. (2010). Effects of reciprocity on attraction: The role of a partner's physical attractiveness. Personal Relationships, 17(2), 317-330. Read summary
Is justice really blind? Also, what damage to the brain teaches us about the perception of attractiveness, and why men fall in love more easily than women. Download the MP3 Rate me! Rate, review, or listen in iTunes or in Stitcher. "Blinded in the line of duty. His partners don't respect him. His wife lacks faith. Nobody believes in Jim Dunbar except himself." And now, perhaps, Ahola and colleagues. The articles covered in the show: Ahola, A. S., Hellström, Å., & Christianson, S. Å. (2010). Is justice really blind? Effects of crime descriptions, defendant gender and appearance, and legal practitioner gender on sentences and defendant evaluations in a mock trial. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 17(2), 304-324. Read summaryCarbon, C. C., Gruter, T., Grüter, M., Weber, J. E., & Lueschow, A. (2010). Dissociation of facial attractiveness and distinctiveness processing in congenital prosopagnosia. Visual Cognition, 18(5), 641-654. Read summaryGalperin, A., & Haselton, M. G. (2010). Predictors of how often and when people fall in love. Evolutionary Psychology, 8(1), 5-28. Read paper
Do mate preferences change over time? We also look at how women's perceptions of men are related to the age at which she reached puberty, and continue last month's look at the interesting phenomenon of mate choice copying. Download the MP3 Rate me! Rate, review, or listen in iTunes or in Stitcher. The articles covered in the show: Kościński, K. (2010). Do they know what they like? Intra-individual variation of female facial preferences. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 8(1), 23-55. Read summaryBelles, S., Kunde, W., & Neumann, R. (In press). Timing of sexual maturation and women's evaluation of men. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Read summaryPlace, S. S., Todd, P. M., Penke, L., & Asendorpf, J. B. (In press). Humans show mate copying after observing real mate choices. Evolution and Human Behavior. Read summary
How stress can disrupt what we find attractive. We also look at why friends are similar in attractiveness, and whether it pays to save yourself the bother of choosing a partner and instead let someone else do the choosing for you. Download the MP3 Rate me! Rate, review, or listen in iTunes or in Stitcher. The articles covered in the show: Lass-Hennemann, J., Deuter, C. E., Kuehl, L. K., Schulz, A., Blumenthal, T. D., & Schachinger, H. (In press). Effects of stress on human mating preferences: stressed individuals prefer dissimilar mates. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences. Read summaryBleske-Rechek, A. L., & Lighthall, M. (In press). Attractiveness and rivalry in women's friendships with women. Human Nature. Read summaryYorzinski, J. L., & Platt, M. L. (2010). Same-sex gaze attraction influences mate-choice copying in humans. PLoS One, 5(2), e9115. Read full paper for free
I speak to Tyler Stillman of Florida State University about whether we can identify violent criminals just by looking at their faces. We also find out whether electoral candidates who appear more powerful or trustworthy can expect more votes, and how a woman's menstrual cycle can affect her preferences for hairy men. Download the MP3 Rate me! Rate, review, or listen in iTunes or in Stitcher. Schwarzenegger's masculine looks probably did him no harm when it came to running for governor of California. The articles covered in the show: Rantala, M. J., Pölkki, M., & Rantala, L. M. (2010). Preference for human male body hair changes across the menstrual cycle and menopause. Behavioral Ecology, 21(2), 419-423. Read summaryStillman, T. F., Maner, J. K., & Baumeister, R. F. (In press). A thin slice of violence: distinguishing violent from nonviolent sex offenders at a glance. Evolution and Human Behavior. Read summaryRule, N. O., Arnbady, N., Adams, R. B., Ozono, H., Nakashima, S., Yoshikawa, S., et al. (2010). Polling the Face: Prediction and Consensus Across Cultures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(1), 1-15. Read summaryI talked this month about Francis Galton, pioneer physiognomist and creator of composite portraiture. That's when you combine two or more facial photos into a single image. His photography skills are pretty amazing when you consider that he was working 125 years ago and was able to come up with some convincing results. Francis Galton's composites of violent criminals. The images on the top are the real criminals, and the ones on the bottom are composites. The image above shows images of Gordon Brown (a), that have been composited using Galton's method (b) and the modern method (c). In Galton's method, the images are rotated and scaled so that the eyes lie on top of each other before being combined. In the modern, computerised method, the locations of over 150 points are averaged before the images are combined. This gives a much clearer image. Galton's more primitive method could explain why he failed to find a 'criminal type', or it could just be because criminals don't look that different to everybody else.Physiognomy is currently undergoing a resurgence, although most researchers study whether attractiveness, or personality traits such as trustworthiness, can be detected from faces. Perhaps because physiognomy is so closely associated with Galton, who founded eugenics and held typically 19th century views on race, attempts to extend study into areas such as criminality are often met with some resistance.
Is there a universal 'golden ratio' that explains facial attractiveness? We also discover how the behaviours people use to keep their partner from leaving them change over time, and whether waitresses who wear makeup can expect larger tips. Download the MP3 Rate me! Rate, review, or listen in iTunes or in Stitcher. Angelina Jolie doesn't quite fit the golden ratio beauty mask, but who cares? She is chuffing gorgeous. The articles covered in the show: Pallett, P. M., Link, S., & Lee, K. (2010). New "golden" ratios for facial beauty. Vision Research, 50(2), 149-154. Read summaryKaighobadi, F., Shackelford, T. K., & Buss, D. M. (2010). Spousal mate retention in the newlywed year and three years later. Personality and Individual Differences, 48(4), 414-418. Read summaryJacob, C., Guéguen, N., Boulbry, G., & Ardiccioni, R. (2010). Waitresses' facial cosmetics and tipping: A field experiment. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 29(1), 188-190. Read summaryTo show you the kind of manipulation Pallett applied to her images in her study of optimal ratios for facial attractiveness, I knocked up a couple of examples using everybody's favourite romcom 'actor', Matthew McConnawhatever. Matthew McConaughey with his eye-mouth to face-height ratio altered. The image in the middle is the real one, with Matthew's .38 ratio close to the average of .36. Matthew McConaughey with his eye-eye to face-width ratio altered. This time his real ratio is .47, almost dead on the average of .46.
We’re back after a short Christmas break to find out whether people who are good at sports are better looking than us average Joes. We also discover how preferences for facial masculinity are related to a person’s sexuality and their sensitivity to disgust. Download the MP3 Rate me! Rate, review, or listen in iTunes or in Stitcher. What's under the helmet? Williams and colleagues show that better quarterbacks tend to be better looking. The articles covered in the show: Glassenberg, A. N., Feinberg, D. R., Jones, B. C., Little, A. C., & DeBruine, L. M. (In Press). Sex-dimorphic face shape preference in heterosexual and homosexual men and women. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Read summaryDeBruine, L. M., Jones, B. C., Tybur, J. M., Lieberman, D., & Griskevicius, V. (2010). Women's preferences for masculinity in male faces are predicted by pathogen disgust, but not by moral or sexual disgust. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31(1), 69-74. Read summaryWilliams, K. M., Park, J. H., & Wieling, M. B. (2010). The face reveals athletic flair: better National Football League quarterbacks are better looking. Personality and Individual Differences, 48(2), 112-116. Read summary
Why it can sometimes be good to have bad self esteem. We also find out how secret relationships can affect your health, and discover how waitresses can maximise their tips. Download the MP3 Rate me! Rate, review, or listen in iTunes or in Stitcher. Do women spend more time on their appearance when ovulating because they feel worse about themselves? New research by Sarah Hill and Kristina Durante suggests so.The articles covered in the show: Hill, S. E., & Durante, K. M. (In press). Do women feel worse to look their best? Testing the relationship between self-esteem and fertility status across the menstrual cycle. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Read summaryLynn, M. (2009). Determinants and consequences of female attractiveness and sexiness: realistic tests with restaurant waitresses. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38(5), 737-745. Read summaryLehmiller, J. L. (2009). Secret romantic relationships: consequences for personal and relational well-being. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 1452-1466. Read summary
Why Ricky Gervais is ideal father material. We also find out why rebounding might be good for you, and not just on the basketball court, and we discover how kindness can be attractive and unattractive at the same time. Download the MP3 Would Ricky and fellow comedians make good fathers?The articles covered in the show: Moore, F., Law Smith, M., Cassidy, C., & Perrett, D. (2009). Female reproductive strategy predicts preferences for sexual dimorphism in male faces. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 7(3), 211-224. Read summarySpielmann, S. S., MacDonald, G., & Wilson, A. E. (2009). On the rebound: focusing on someone new helps anxiously attached andividuals let go of ex-partners. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35(10), 1382-1394. Read summaryLukaszewski, A. W., & Roney, J. R. (In Press). Kind toward whom? Mate preferences for personality traits are target specific. Evolution and Human Behavior. Read summary
Being watched by someone who’s attractive can make you more trustworthy. We also find out how the type of relationship you’re looking for might be related to your ability to read faces, and discover whether it’s the face or the body that contributes most to a person’s physical attractiveness. If you'd like to see the Sociosexual Orientation Inventory used by Sacco, you can find it here. Download the MP3 Rate me! Rate, review, or listen in iTunes or in Stitcher. Face or body? Tom Currie and Tony Little have published new research showing whether the body or the face is more important to attractiveness.The articles covered in the show: Smith, F. G., DeBruine, L. M., Jones, B. C., Krupp, D. B., Welling, L. L. M., & Conway, C. A. (In Press). Attractiveness qualifies the effect of observation on trusting behavior in an economic game. Evolution and Human Behavior. Read summarySacco, D. F., Hugenberg, K., & Sefcek, J. A. (2009). Sociosexuality and face perception: unrestricted sexual orientation facilitates sensitivity to female facial cues. Personality and Individual Differences, 47, 777-782. Read summaryCurrie, T. E., & Little, A. C. (In Press). The relative importance of the face and body in judgments of human physical attractiveness. Evolution and Human Behavior. Read summary