Changes in preference for male faces during the menstrual cycle in a Spanish population

  • Jose A. Muñoz-Reyes Departamento de Biología, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain) y Centro de Estudios Avanzados, Universidad de Playa Ancha (Valdivia, Chile)
  • Marta Iglesias-Julios Departamente de Biología Universidad Autónoma de Madrid C/ Darwin nº2, 28049, Madrid, Spain
  • Cristina Martín-Elola Departamente de Biología Universidad Autónoma de Madrid C/ Darwin nº2, 28049, Madrid, Spain
  • María Losada-Perez Departamente de Biología Universidad Autónoma de Madrid C/ Darwin nº2, 28049, Madrid, Spain
  • Ignacio Monedero Departamente de Biología Universidad Autónoma de Madrid C/ Darwin nº2, 28049, Madrid, Spain
  • Miguel Pita Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • Enrique Turiégano Departamente de Biología Universidad Autónoma de Madrid C/ Darwin nº2, 28049, Madrid, Spain
Keywords: Oestrus, menstrual cycle, facial sexual dimorphism, attractiveness, reproductive strategies

Abstract

A recent and controversial hypothesis suggests the presence of an oestrus phase in women as in other mammals. This implies that women at their optimal fertility point of the menstrual cycle exhibit behaviors focused to maximize the genetic quality of their offspring. Several studies support this hypothesis, finding that women in the fertile phase tend to prefer men with traits associated to phenotypic quality, such as greater facial masculinization and symmetry. We experimentally tested some of the observations supporting this hypothesis in a population of 810 young Spanish women. We analyzed whether the preference for masculinized male faces is affected by i) the phase of the menstrual cycle, ii) having a stable partner and iii) the use of birth control pills. We could not reproduce the effect of the first two factors, but we found that women using hormonal contraceptives tend to prefer men with less masculine faces. These results indicate that some of the evidences supporting the oestrus hypothesis in humans must be reviewed, incorporating data from different socio-cultural and ethnic populations.

Author Biographies

Jose A. Muñoz-Reyes, Departamento de Biología, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain) y Centro de Estudios Avanzados, Universidad de Playa Ancha (Valdivia, Chile)
Departamento de Biología (UAM) y Centro de Estudios Avanzados (Playa Ancha)
Marta Iglesias-Julios, Departamente de Biología Universidad Autónoma de Madrid C/ Darwin nº2, 28049, Madrid, Spain
Departamento de Biología
Cristina Martín-Elola, Departamente de Biología Universidad Autónoma de Madrid C/ Darwin nº2, 28049, Madrid, Spain
Departamento de Biología
María Losada-Perez, Departamente de Biología Universidad Autónoma de Madrid C/ Darwin nº2, 28049, Madrid, Spain
Departamento de Biología
Ignacio Monedero, Departamente de Biología Universidad Autónoma de Madrid C/ Darwin nº2, 28049, Madrid, Spain
Departamento de Biología
Miguel Pita, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Departamento de Biología
Published
08-04-2014
How to Cite
Muñoz-Reyes, J. A., Iglesias-Julios, M., Martín-Elola, C., Losada-Perez, M., Monedero, I., Pita, M., & Turiégano, E. (2014). Changes in preference for male faces during the menstrual cycle in a Spanish population. Anales De Psicología / Annals of Psychology, 30(2), 667-675. https://doi.org/10.6018/analesps.30.2.145221
Section
Psychobiology