Researchers say just as women deny the choosing a man as their partner based on the theory of infectious diseases, they also do not always prefer men with masculine faces.
The study at University of Oregon, on which Sugiyama is one of 22 co-authors, tested 962 adults drawn from 12 populations living in various economic systems in 10 nations.
Sugiyama said that it is not the case that women have a universal preference for high testosterone faces and it's not the case that such a preference is greater in a high-pathogen environment, while men don't uniformly appear to have a preference for more feminine faces, at least within the ranges of cultures shown in this study.
Sugiyama added that in large-scale societies people encounter many unfamiliar people, so using appearance to infer personality traits can help cope with the overwhelming amount of social information, as in, in all cultures tested, high testosterone faces were judged to be more aggressive, and this is useful information when encountering strangers.
Sugiyama continued that performance by the different populations wasn't chance as for each society there was a pattern and there were significant preferences in each culture.
He added that the real message of this study is that people in this field need to stop and rethink how they have been thinking about these things and the underlying adaptations are likely to track other ecological considerations and local cultural factors that they don't have data on and may eventually be very important in understanding attractiveness.
The study is published online in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (ANI)