Most studies of female facial masculinity preference have relied upon self-reported preference, with participants selecting or rating the attractiveness of faces that differ in masculinity. However, researchers have not established a consensus as to whether women’s general preference is for male faces that are masculine or feminine, and several studies have indicated that women prefer neither. We investigated women’s preferences for male facial masculinity using standard two-alternative forced choice (2AFC) preference trials paired with eye tracking measures, to determine whether conscious and non-conscious measures of preference yield similar results. We found that women expressed a preference for, gazed longer at, and fixated more frequently on feminized male faces. We also found effects of relationship status, relationship context (whether faced are judged for attractiveness as a long- or short-term partner), and hormonal contraceptive use. These results support previous findings that women express a preference for feminized over masculinized male faces, demonstrate that non-conscious measures of preference for this trait echo consciously expressed preferences, and suggest that certain aspects of the preference decision-making process may be better captured by eye tracking than by 2AFC preference trials.
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2014|