October 17th, 2014
When you think of the attractive features of men, you are likely to think about hair style and color, eye color, facial hair. Maybe a great smile.
One thing you may not be thinking of is redness of a man’s face. Apparently, this does influence women in their choice of an attractive partner. According to Stephen, Oldham, Perrett, and Barton (2012), a wide range of evidence suggests that redness is associated with testosterone, health, physical dominance and anger. The authors investigated whether skin redness would enhance the dominant and aggressive appearance of men’s faces, as well as their attractiveness.
Given that attractiveness ratings have been associated with health and dominance, the amount of redness in men’s faces may influence how attractive they are to women. At the same time, the association between redness and dominance may make red faces less attractive for women, because dominance is associated with aggression and low investment by males (Stephen et al., 2012).
The authors found that increased redness enhanced the appearance of dominance, aggression and attractiveness in men’s faces viewed by female participants. However, very high levels of redness increased perceived aggression, which made the men less attractive. According to the authors, these differences may reflect a trade-off between the benefits to females of choosing a healthy, dominant male and the costs of associating with an aggressive partner (Stephen et al., 2012).
So men, showing a little bit of red skin may help you to attract women. Not too much though. Yet another reason to use sunscreen this summer.
Stephen ID, Oldham FH, Perrett DI, & Barton RA (2012). Redness enhances perceived aggression, dominance and attractiveness in men’s faces. Evolutionary psychology : an international journal of evolutionary approaches to psychology and behavior, 10 (3), 562-72 PMID: 22947678
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