Female psychology and dating
Leslie Zebrowitz and her colleagues have extensively studied the tendency for both men and women to prefer facial features that have youthful characteristics (Zebrowitz, 1996). The influence of body weight and shape in determining female and male physical attractiveness.
These features include large, round, and widely spaced eyes, a small nose and chin, prominent cheekbones, and a large forehead.
Even infants who are only a year old prefer to look at faces that adults consider attractive rather than at unattractive faces (Langlois, Ritter, Roggman, & Vaughn, 1991).
People who are attractive are also seen as having a variety of positive characteristics, and these traits are activated quickly and spontaneously when we see their faces (Olson & Marshuetz, 2005; van Leeuwen & Macrae, 2004).
The researchers found that the more faces that were averaged into the stimulus, the more attractive it was judged (Figure 7.4, “Facial Averageness”).
Although the preferences for youth, symmetry, and averageness appear to be universal, at least some differences in perceived attractiveness are due to social factors. Langlois and Roggman (1990) showed college students the faces of men and women. The faces were composites made up of the average of 2, 4, 8, 16, or 32 faces. The attraction to symmetry is not limited to face perception. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32(6), 770–780. Journal of Behavioral Decision making, 22(2), 171–190. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 28(2), 218–224. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(6), 1089–1101; Singh, R., Yeo, S. Body symmetry is also a likely indicator of good genes, and women favor more symmetrical men as sexual partners (Gangestad & Thornhill, 1997).
Although it may seem inappropriate or shallow to admit it, and although it is certainly not the only determinant of liking, people are strongly influenced, at least in initial encounters, by the physical attractiveness of their partners (Swami & Furnham, 2008).