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Durham University

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Publication details

Boothroyd, L.G., Meins, E., Vukovic, J. & Burt, D.M. (2014). Developmental changes in children's facial preferences. Evolution and Human Behavior 35(5): 376-383.

Author(s) from Durham


Facial averageness, symmetry, health, and femininity are positively associated with adults' judgements of attractiveness, but little is known about the age at which preferences for individual facial traits develop. We investigated preferences for these facial traits and global attractiveness in 4- to 17-year-olds (N = 346). All age groups showed preferences for globally attractive faces. Preferences for averageness, symmetry, and health did not emerge until middle childhood and experienced apparent disruption or stasis around age 10- to 14-years; femininity was not preferred until early adulthood, and this preference was seen only in girls. Children's pubertal development was not clearly related to any facial preferences, but the results are consistent with the suggestion that early adrenal hormone release may play an activating role in mate preferences, while other constraints may delay further increases in preferences during later puberty.