Bernhard Fink, Kathrin Täschner, Nick Neave, Nadine Hugill and Laura Dane

Male faces and bodies: Evidence of a condition-dependent ornament of quality

Personality and Individual Differences

Thornhill and Grammer (1999) have argued that certain facial and bodily features in women serve as ‘honest’ signals of their reproductive quality and that these features comprise a single condition-dependent ornament. Here we test whether the hypothesis that male faces and bodies also comprise such a sexual ornament. Photographs of faces and bodies (front and back views) of 43 males subjects were rated independently by a total of 78 female volunteers in terms of ‘attractiveness’, ‘masculinity’, and ‘dominance’. Ratings of male faces correlated significantly positively with the same ratings of their bodies. Thus, if a face was rated as being attractive, dominant and masculine, then the body was rated in the equivalent manner. Males who possess attractive, masculine, and dominant looking faces also possess attractive, masculine, and dominant looking bodies, probably because of similar patterns of underlying proximate mechanisms that affect their development.