Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Aggressor or protector? Experiences and perceptions of violence predict preferences for masculinity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Abstract

Women’s preferences for masculine male partners have been explained in terms of heritable health. The evidence between masculinity and health, however, is controversial and therefore, alternative explanations for masculinity preferences reflecting income inequality and protection from violence have been proposed. This study thus aimed to test the effect of exposure to violence (i.e., experiences of robberies and perceptions of danger) on the individual masculinity preferences of women and men from the capital city of Colombia, Bogota, and surrounding small towns. One hundred and fifty three adult participants (mean age ± S.D.= 31.3 ± 9.4), all heterosexual, were surveyed in reference to indicators related to health (e.g., drinking water access, frequency of illnesses), access to media (e.g., television and internet access), education (e.g., graduating from high school, attending university) and exposure to violence (e.g., frequency of robberies/attacks, feelings of danger from violence). Participants made two alternative, preference forced-choice for masculinized and feminized versions of both rural Salvadoran and European male faces. We found that men and women exposed to higher levels of violence preferred less masculine male faces, although this effect was only significant for women. Additionally, the effect of violence exposure was more relevant for the Salvadoran stimuli. Violence contributed significantly to explaining masculinity preferences after controlling for participant age, education, access to media, and health-related factors. These preferences may reflect women’s strategy to avoid male violence demonstrating that exposure to violence matters in interpersonal attraction.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-489
Number of pages9
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Volume38
Issue number4
Early online date23 Mar 2017
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2017
Scopus citations0

    Research areas

  • Masculinity, Violence, Education, Development, Health, Interpersonal attraction, Competition, Intra-sexual selection

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Facial redness increases men’s perceived healthiness and attractiveness

    Thorstenson, C. A., Pazda, A. D., Elliot, A. J. & Perrett, D. I. 1 Jun 2017 In : Perception. 46, 6, p. 650-664

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Own attractiveness and perceived relationship quality shape sensitivity in women’s memory for other men on the attractiveness dimension

    Watkins, C. D., Nicholls, M. J., Batres, C., Xiao, D., Talamas, S. & Perrett, D. I. Jun 2017 In : Cognition. 163, p. 146-154 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Perceptions of carotenoid and melanin colouration in faces among young Australian adults

    Pezdirc, K., Rollo, M. E., Whitehead, R., Hutchesson, M. J., Ozakinci, G., Perrett, D. & Collins, C. E. 19 May 2017 In : Australian Journal of Psychology. Early View, 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Familiarity with own population's appearance influences facial preferences

    Batres, C., Kannan, M. & Perrett, D. I. 18 May 2017 In : Human Nature.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Acquisition of a socially learned tool use sequence in chimpanzees: Implications for cumulative culture

    Vale, G. L., Davis, S. J., Lambeth, S. P., Schapiro, S. J. & Whiten, A. 2 May 2017 In : Evolution and Human Behavior. In press

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Beneath the beard: do facial morphometrics influence the strength of judgments of men's beardedness?

    Dixson, B. J. W., Lee, A. J., Sherlock, J. M. & Talamas, S. N. Mar 2017 In : Evolution and Human Behavior. 38, 2, p. 164-174 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Young children discriminate genuine from fake smiles and expect people displaying genuine smiles to be more prosocial

    Song, R., Over, H. & Carpenter, M. Nov 2016 In : Evolution and Human Behavior. 37, 6, p. 490-501 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Perception of strength from 3D faces is linked to facial cues of physique

    Holzleitner, I. J. & Perrett, D. I. May 2016 In : Evolution and Human Behavior. 37, 3, p. 217-229 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 249476968