Mature-looking women are more attractive - in times of economic downturn.
That is the conclusion of two studies, one of which used American movie actresses, and the other Playboy Playmates of the Year.
The research found that in unsure times beauty icons tend to be slightly more "mature" looking women - taller, heavier and sporting larger waists.
The result matches a growing body of research which suggest that humans' initial attraction to certain mates may follow a subtle logic, as a person's figure type or facial features can signal certain personality traits.
According to psychologist Terry Pettijohn, II at Coastal Carolina University, baby-faced individuals with chubby cheeks and over-sized eyes often have dependent personalities and are more likely to be in nurturing professions.
Whereas, people with smaller eyes, larger chins and bigger bodies tend to be more independent, the expert told LiveScience.
"And when you feel more threatened or insecure, you will gravitate toward finding friends or partners that look stronger," he added.
Social and economic conditions also influence what traits are viewed as attractive, Pettijohn and colleagues pointed.
"Our genetics are suggesting that we make certain decisions... but at the same time there is this social element," Pettijohn said. We adapt our innate tastes to our environment in ways that optimize our survival and well-being, he said.
The study of Playboy Playmates of the Years was published by the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin in 2004. The study using American actresses was published in a 1999 issue of the journal Media Psychology.