The most attractive appearance
Life in big cities makes us prefer the feminine, at least outwardly, women, and fear of aggression on the part of people with pronounced masculine features.
Such a conclusion can be drawn from a large-scale study *, conducted by a team of psychologists, anthropologists and biologists from 12 scientific centers of Great Britain, the USA, Canada and China, led by Scott Isabel (Isabel M. Scott) and Andrew Clark (Andrew P. Clark), University of London Brunel.
The study is unique composition of the respondents. It was attended by 962 people participated from 12 cultures that exist in very different parts of the world and living in a totally different conditions, different structures, different levels of development: the people of Malaysia, UK, Fiji, Canada and Shanghai, Tuva, Native American Cree in Canada, residents of the city of Hangzhou on the east coast of China, representatives of ethnic Shuar in Ecuador and the Miskito peoples in Central America, the people of the Himba tribe in Namibia, and the tribe aka Central Africa.
Participants are shown five sets of pictures, each of which consisted of a male or a female portrait in three variations: the real face, that is a real image of a living person, and two of his computer modifications, one of which amplified masculine, and in another - feminine facial features. Man shows portraits of women, women - men. The sets of pictures were presented to people of different races and ethnic groups, two of them are shown in the illustration.
The respondents were asked to rate how attractive they seem to be the person in the photographs, both in terms of preference of the owner of the face as a potential partner for a short novel, and, separately, its attractiveness as a partner, "the long haul". In addition, they were asked how aggressive they seem to be a different person.
The results were surprising. The biggest "selling" markedly feminine, womanly person enjoyed among men living in urban areas. The inhabitants of traditional rural communities or members of nomadic tribes on the preferences of this account is not expressed. At the same time the men of all nations to the role of "mistress", ie for short relationships, choose feminine women are more likely than the role of "wife", that is, for a long-term connection.
In the women's preferences, too, was able to identify a pattern, is quite paradoxical: the more often in this society, people are dying from infections, the fewer women value masculinity facial features.
But the difference in the preferences of potential "lovers" and potential "husband", found in representatives of some people (not all), not in what the overall trend is not built. By the way, this time has not been confirmed, and the conventional wisdom about women's preferences, depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle.
But it is very clear and consistent presentation of the participants proved both sexes of aggression. The most dangerous and prone to violence seem all the holders emphasized masculine individuals, both male and female, but most of all is the perception expressed among the inhabitants of modern urban cultures. As for the authors of a surprise, in the formulation of hypotheses, they are very careful. Nevertheless, one of the most probable causes of the propensity of urban residents considered masculine face aggressive - that in villages and small tribes "know each other" and people do not need to rely on stereotypes in assessing the personal qualities of each other. In big cities, we often have to be guided only by the most superficial impression and therefore "cling" for the most prominent features, allowing it to make.
As for the strange preference of women, it may be the case in the phenomenon of "visual diet": how familiar food like us more strange and familiar types of people nicer ones that we see only rarely. Where people are poor, malnourished, vulnerable to disease and live hard, the level of testosterone in men is lower than that of their urban counterparts, and hence looks less masculinity. Maybe women are these people so used to them that it was such appearance is considered a "right" and attractive.
* For details, see. Pnas.org/content/111/40/14388