ABERDEEN, Scotland, June 30 (UPI) — Women with more feminine faces and men with more masculine faces attract the gaze of those of the opposite sex more quickly, researchers in Scotland found.
Benedict C. Jones, Julie Main, Lisa DeBruine and Lisa Welling of the University of Aberdeen and Anthony Little of the University of Stirling had volunteers look at faces with exaggerated or reduced male or female features.
The faces had been morphed digitally to look either more or less masculine or feminine, and the study participants were told to hit a computer key if a face was looking at them, and hit no key if the face looked away.
Both women and men were told to hit the computer key more quickly when the face had exaggerated sexual characteristics, the researchers said.
The researchers suggested the ability to perceive things about attractive people faster may have been useful to early humans.
“There’s likely to be quite a big advantage to detecting when a particularly good potential mate’s looking at you,” Jones said in a statement. “If I’m in a bar and there’s a pretty woman looking at me — if I wasn’t married — I would want to catch her eye before someone else did.”
The study was published in Psychological Science.
Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.