Socio-economic and Socio-spatial Influences on the Cycle Shift Hypothesis
Fergus Kitching Dissertation (2014).docx (3.569Mb)
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Studies have documented changes in female mate preference across the menstrual cycle. A shift towards more masculine men at peak fertility has been proposed, though evidence is equivocal. Masculinity is the product of more pronounced secondary sexual characteristics. High testosterone is linked with development of these characteristics. High testosterone is believed to signify genetic quality negative behaviour in males. Recent evidence demonstrates there is cross-cultural variation in female mate preference, influenced by socio-economic and socio-spatial factors. The present study tests for cyclical and cross-cultural variation in female preference for masculine faces. A cross-sectional survey design is applied. Preference is measured with a two-alternative forced-choice paradigm. Masculinity is tested against self-reported peak-fertility in five fertile window models. Masculinity preference is further tested against questions concerning socio-economic and socio-spatial factors. Results show no effect of cyclical variation in female preference for masculine faces. Socio-economic and socio-economic factors demonstrate no effect on female face preference. The present study joins the growing number of research that questions the link between facial masculinity and attractiveness. Non-significant results across five models of peak fertility suggest females do not use facial masculinity as a salient cue in sexual selection.