Facial attractiveness, symmetry, and physical fitness in young women.

Johannes Honekopp, Tobias Bartholomé, Gregor Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


This study explores the evolutionary-based hypothesis that facial attractiveness (a guiding force in mate selection) is a cue for physical fitness (presumably an important contributor to mate value in ancestral times). Since fluctuating asymmetry, a measure of developmental stability, is known to be a valid cue for fitness in several biological domains, we scrutinized facial asymmetry as a potential mediator between attractiveness and fitness. In our sample of young women, facial beauty indeed indicated physical fitness. The relationships that pertained to asymmetry were in the expected direction. However, a closer analysis revealed that facial asymmetry did not mediate the relationship between fitness and attractiveness. Unexpected problems regarding the measurement of facial asymmetry are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-167
JournalHuman Nature
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004


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