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MHC-assortative facial preferences in humans

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Craig Roberts, Emeritus Professor Morris Gosling, Emerita Professor Marion Petrie

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Abstract

Individuals tend to choose mates who are sufficiently genetically dissimilar to avoid inbreeding. As facial attractiveness is a key factor in human mate preference, we investigated whether facial preferences were related to genetic dissimilarity. We asked female volunteers to rate the attractiveness of men from photographs and compared these results with individual genotypes at the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). In contrast to previously reported preferences based on odour, we found a non-significant tendency for women to rate MHC-similar faces as more attractive, suggesting a preference for cues to a self-similar MHC in faces. Further analysis revealed that male faces received higher attractiveness scores when rated by women who were MHC-similar than by MHC-dissimilar women. Although unexpected, this MHC-similar facial preference is consistent with other studies documenting assortative preferences in humans, including for facial phenotype. © 2005 The Royal Society.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Roberts SC, Little AC, Gosling LM, Jones BC, Perrett DI, Carter V, Petrie M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Biology Letters

Year: 2005

Volume: 1

Issue: 4

Pages: 400-403

ISSN (print): 1744-9561

ISSN (electronic): 1744-957X

Publisher: The Royal Society Publishing

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2005.0343

DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2005.0343


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