Friday, 19 January 2007

You hunky smile magnet

It seems beauty isn’t all in the eye of the beholder after all. Researchers have shown women rate a man as more attractive after they’ve seen another woman smiling at him. By contrast, being a jealous bunch, male observers rate a man as less attractive after they’ve seen a woman smiling at him.

Benedict Jones and colleagues at Aberdeen University’s Face Research Laboratory first asked 28 women and 28 men to rate the attractiveness of several pairs of male faces. Next they were shown the same pairs again, except this time one face in each pair was shown with a woman’s face staring at it from the side, either with a smiling or neutral expression. When the participants then rated the male faces for a second time, their ratings had changed for those male faces that had been stared at by a woman.

Female participants rated a male face as more attractive after it had been stared at by a smiling woman, but less attractive if a woman with a neutral expression had stared at it. By contrast, the male participants showed the opposite pattern, tending to rate a male face as less attractive after they’d seen a smiling woman looking at it.

The researchers said this shows our preference for a man’s face is affected by social cues we pick up from how other people look at him. Apparently a similar phenomenon occurs in the animal kingdom – for example female zebra finches prefer a male who they’ve previously seen paired with another female.

Jones, B.C., DeBruine, L.M., Little, A.C., Burriss, R.P. & Feinburg, D.R. (2007). Social transmission of face preferences among humans. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, published online (open access).

Post written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.


Anonymous said...

This research is skewed.

I'd like to see the results of the same exact study, but with a male smiling at the guys.

I tend to think that it's not a sex related thing, more of:

If human A smiles at human B, human B must be likeable for some reason, because human A smiled at them, which makes human C (the observer) like them also [albeit subconsciously].

Anonymous said...

It also depends on how the study was done. It could also mean that since the face seems more familiar the person can look more attractive.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, interesting hypothesis.

If it were true, then male observers should have rated the male subjects as more attractive when they noticed a smiling woman looking at the man in the photo . . . but instead, they rated him as less attractive.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a bunch of crap because no one has ever found the men attractive that I pick for a mate...
they don't even give 'em a second glance...and sure as hell don't smile at them.
So am I sub-conciously picking ugly ass men because I'm a jealous bitch who doesn't want anyone drooling over her man, thus presenting themselves as competition?
Or is it I want an un-friendly man who no one likes because I was abused as a child?
Such crap.
And for the record, I am quite attractive...was voted Miss Sr in high school and won the beauty contest at my little community college. I get hit on everytime I go out and am stared at by men on a regular basis. And I hate to brag, but I could probably have any man I wanted. (which I have now)
And also for the record, it's not so much a "what's on the inside"'s more of a "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" type thing. It just so happens that the men I find attractive, my girlfriends and their girlfriends find not so attractive-repulsive, lmao.

Anonymous said...

meeeeeeee... I'm sure your real hot and all that, though I question how you really view yourself having seen you anonymously detail your good looks on an internet comment sheet. I'm also sure your community college education grants you the mighty intellect you need to randomly discredit scientific research. On second thought, your low self esteem might explain why you are attracted to trashy guys.

Anonymous said...

maybe meeeeeeeees just got a butt load of hot chicks smiling at her whereever she goes?

Anonymous said...

it's called the power of suggestion. It works for both men and women. You find ppl more attractive when others appear to like them, but only when its relatively small amount of people , larger audiences can sometimes be a turn off.

I'll give you an example, your friend sees someone and thinks their attractive, you don't necessarily think that person is attractive. Another friend comments on how that person is attractive, and suddenly that person may begin to seem a little more attractive. IT's very interesting stuff, and I have a friend who's actually doing a thesis on this and the results are nicely shaping and quite interesting.

Vegas said...

It's more than just the power of "suggestion", which I agree goes a long way. But this has to do with what is called, pre-selection. I've even seen it called the "boyband principle".

Females are attracted to males who are perceived to be chosen, by other females. This spans most creatures on the planet.

This is nothing new.

simple caveman said...

Take it from a man that women do not look at as a rule, when I am with woman and she is happy, I get lots of looks from other women. There is a huge difference, I'll bet it works better than a baby or a puppy, but I would have to test that sometme and get backl to you.

Anonymous said...

who comes up with such stupid ideas for these studies.. isnt it commonsense.. what mysterious truth does this reveal?

Anonymous said...

Women are a jealous bunch. They will go after their galpal's guy even if they have no sexual attraction to him because they are evil.

Anonymous said...

You should be happy because, now there's a study to prove your "commonsense" knowledge. Not everyone has your "commonsense" Making it interesting to those who didn't know about it.

Once you know about it you can use it to meet women easier. I'm thinking of calling my ex up right now! Or maybe it's cheaper to pay to have a harem of smiling women around me at all times.

Having them around will raise my social value. Be it a bar or soup kitchen. So long lotion!

Anonymous said...

totally true. although you don't need a silly test like this to understand instinct.

Anonymous said...

Did the users rate both the pictures with just the guy and those with the woman looking at the guy? If they saw both, I could imagine them figuring out the experiment and biasing the result. What you'd want it just a random set of pictures, one or two people, to counteract that.

Anonymous said...

he geenstijlers kom der maar in:P

we nemen dit forumpje helemaal over

Anonymous said...

If you want to pull, get a friend who is a girl (rather than a girl friend) to flirt with you.

Girls will come like bees to honey regardless of what you look like. In fact the worse you look the more alluring you are.

"what the hell has he got? I don't know but I want some"

I'm not trying to say girls are predicatble, tedious and easily duped but... oh, no... hold on I am.

Only joking! You're all lovely ;-)

perfectlyGoodInk said...

Why didn't they also have the participants judge a woman's face with and without a man smiling at her? That wouldn't have increased the time and effort of the study very much and told us a lot more.

Anonymous said...

This isn't too surprising, but also not something a lot of people notice. Humans are rather competitive animals.

Pierre said...

Agreed, really good point.

Sometimes how they divide this stuff into male/female can be a false positive.

Sam Vincente said...

The cited paper doesn't test the smiling condition. It only mentions it in the first paragraph.

Maybe the reference is wrong?

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