The Effects of Sex and Sexual Orientation on Sexually Dimorphic Facial Trait Preferences
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Attraction is a complex phenomenon innate to humans, animals, and plant species. Its primary purpose is to communicate reproductive information such as health, fertility, and parenting quality (Andersson, 1994; Vashi, 2015). One channel these messages are communicated by is through sexual dimorphism, the systematic differences between sexes (Samal et al., 2007). In human communication specifically, attraction patterns of sexually dimorphic preferences are a flourishing area of research. However, research accounting for variability in sexual orientation is severely lacking. The present study aimed to remedy this by measuring participants on three distinct dimensions of sexual orientation and compared their preferences of sexually dimorphic traits in both male and female faces, while controlling for personality masculinity and age. Results suggested that individuals tend to prefer sexually dimorphic traits typical of the sex they find most attractive, lending support to the neuroendocrine theory of sexual orientation development.