Original article:

Physical cues of ovulatory status: A failure to replicate enhanced facial attractiveness and reduced waist-to-hip ratio at high fertility

Evolutionary Psychology 9(3): 336-353 April Bleske-Rechek, Psychology Department, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI, USA, bleskeal@uwec.eduHeather D. Harris, Psychology Department, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI, USAKelly Denkinger, Psychology Department, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI, USARose Mary Webb, Psychology Department, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, USALeah Erickson, Psychology Department, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI, USALyndsay A. Nelson, Psychology Department, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, USA

Abstract

We investigated women’s facial attractiveness and body shape as a function of menstrual cycle phase, with the expectation from previous research that both would be enhanced during the high fertile phase. To control for the effects of women’s daily behaviors on their appearance and waistline, we visited 37 normally cycling women twice in their dorm, where we photographed and measured them at low and high fertile days of their cycle immediately upon their waking. Seventy-four judges from a separate institution chose, for each woman, the picture they thought was more attractive. We analyzed a subset of 20 women who, by forward counting, had a High Fertility visit between Days 10-13 and a Low Fertility visit between Days 20-23; and we also analyzed a subsample of 17 women who, by reverse counting, had a High Fertility visit on the days leading to ovulation and a Low Fertility visit one week after ovulation. In neither set of analyses were women’s waist- to-hip ratios lower nearer ovulation, and in neither set were women’s high fertile pictures chosen at an above-chance rate by either male or female judges. We did not find evidence that facial attractiveness and waist-to-hip ratio are reliable physical cues of ovulatory status.

Keywords

Attractiveness, face, body shape, waist-to-hip ratio, menstrual cycle, ovulation

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Evolutionary Psychology - An open access peer-reviewed journal - ISSN 1474-7049 © Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young; individual articles © the author(s)
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