No compelling evidence that women with more attractive faces show stronger preferences for masculine men

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Description: Many researchers have suggested that more attractive women will show stronger preferences for masculine men, potentially because such women are better placed to offset the potential costs of choosing a masculine mate. Perhaps the most compelling evidence for this proposal has come from work reporting a positive association between third-party ratings of women’s facial attractiveness and women’s preference for masculinized versus feminized versions of men’s faces as hypothetical long-term partners. Because this finding was based on only a small sample of women (N = 35), we attempted to replicate this result in a much larger sample (N = 454). We found that women, on average, preferred masculinized versions of men’s faces to feminized versions and that this masculinity preference was slightly stronger when women assessed men’s attractiveness as short-term, rather than long-term, mates. However, we found no compelling evidence that women’s masculinity preferences were related to their own attractiveness. These results underline the importance of ensuring that studies of individual differences in mate preferences are adequately powered.

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