Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Menstrual cycle phase affects discrimination of infant cuteness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Recent studies have shown that women are more sensitive than men to subtle cuteness differences in infant faces. It has been suggested that raised levels in estradiol and progesterone may be responsible for this advantage. We compared young women's sensitivity to computer-manipulated baby faces varying in cuteness. Thirty-six women were tested once during ovulation and once during the luteal phase of their menstrual cycle. In a two alternative forced-choice experiment, participants chose the baby which they thought was cuter (Task 1), younger (Task 2), or the baby that they would prefer to babysit (Task 3). Saliva samples to assess levels of estradiol, progesterone and testosterone were collected at each test session. During ovulation, women were more likely to choose the cuter baby than during the luteal phase, in all three tasks. These results suggest that cuteness discrimination may be driven by cyclic hormonal shifts. However none of the measured hormones were related to increased cuteness sensitivity. We speculate that other hormones than the ones measured here might be responsible for the increased sensitivity to subtle cuteness differences during ovulation.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalHormones and Behavior
Volume70
Early online date12 Feb 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015

    Research areas

  • Infant cuteness discrimination, Gonadal steroids, Kindchenschema, Menstrual cycle, Estradiol, Progesterone, Testosterone, Infant–parent bonding

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

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. A web-based photo-alteration intervention to promote sleep: randomized controlled trial

    Perucho, I., Vijayakumar, K. M., Talamas, S., Chee, M. W-L., Perrett, D. I. & Liu, J., 26 Sep 2019, In : JMIR. 21, 9, 11 p., e12500.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Fear of violence amongst Colombian women is associated with reduced preferences for high-BMI men

    Borras Guevara, M. L., Batres, C. & Perrett, D. I., 31 Jul 2019, In : Human Nature. First Online, 29 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Pathogen disgust sensitivity changes according to the perceived harshness of the environment

    Batres, C. & Perrett, D. I., 7 May 2019, In : Cognition and Emotion. Latest Articles, 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. The effect of sleep deprivation on objective and subjective measures of facial appearance

    Holding, B. C., Sundelin, T., Cairns, P., Perrett, D. I. & Axelsson, J., 21 Apr 2019, In : Journal of Sleep Research. Early View, e12860.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Peri-pubertal exposure to testicular hormones organizes response to novel environments and social behaviour in adult male rats

    Brown, G. R., Kulbarsh, K. D., Spencer, K. A. & Duval, C., Jul 2015, In : Hormones and Behavior. 73, p. 135–141 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Effects of nutritional stress during different developmental periods on song and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in zebra finches

    Kriengwatana, B., Wada, H., Schmidt, K. L., Taves, M. D., Soma, K. K. & MacDougall-Shackleton, S. A., Mar 2014, In : Hormones and Behavior. 65, 3, p. 285-293 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 172300535

Top