T Kordsmeyer, M Lohöfener and L Penke

Male facial attractiveness, dominance, and health and the interaction between cortisol and testosterone

Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology

Objectives The dual-hormone hypothesis suggests that associations of testosterone (T) with certain behavioral tendencies are stronger when cortisol (C) levels are low simultaneously. A range of studies provided supporting evidence for TxC interaction effects, for example on dominance and risk-taking behaviors. However, concerning perceptions of facial characteristics the evidence is mixed, with a recent study reporting a positive association between perceived facial dominance and T among men with higher C. Methods We sought to further examine links of observer-rated facial attractiveness, dominance and health (based on photographs of N = 165 men) with baseline T, competition-induced T reactivity, and their interaction with baseline C. Results There was some evidence that baseline T and the interaction of T reactivity with  baseline C positively predicted facial dominance, however these were not robust when including control variables. Conclusions Since no effects were found for perceived attractiveness and health, our results suggest that associations of perceived facial characteristics with baseline T, T reactivity and their interactions with baseline C are rather weak.