Visual, Olfactory, and Vocal Cues to Fecundity in Human Females
von Susanne Röder
Datum der mündl. Prüfung:2013-11-21
Betreuer:Dr. Bernhard Fink
Gutachter:Dr. Bernhard Fink
Gutachter:Prof. Dr. Peter M. Kappeler
EnglischEvolutionary psychologists argue that human males have evolved preferences for certain female characteristics that signal youth and health and consider them attractive. While menstrual cycle studies demonstrated changes in males perception of women’s attractiveness between fertile and non-fertile menstrual cycle days, research on human mate preferences supposes that attractiveness in women is linked to female reproductive potential. No studies have yet addressed the significance of women’s visual, olfactory and vocal attractiveness associated with age-related changes in women’s reproductive potential by considering a larger age range. The present thesis focussed on age-related differences in facial, olfactory and vocal attractiveness in women of three age groups. To test for possible age-related differences in attractiveness, facial photographs, body odour samples and voice recordings from young girls (pre-reproductive), adult women (reproductive) and circum-menopausal women (post-reproductive) were collected and judged for attractiveness and femininity. Circum-menopausal women were judged less attractive for her faces and voices than young girls and adult women. No age-related difference in women’s body odour attractiveness was found between the three age groups. The present thesis lends furthermore support to the assumption that faces and voices of women signal same quality, and that both convey information about the senders age. This thesis provides also evidence for the assumption that faces and voices of women serve as cues to reproductive potential since men perceived young girls and adult women’s faces and voices more attractive than those of circum-menopausal women. Women’s voices seem to be a more accurate cue to female fecundity since adult women received highest attractive judgements. In conclusion, female voices and faces seem to be cues to women’s fecundity since males are sensitive to age-related differences in women’s vocal and facial attractiveness, but not body odour attractiveness. To what extend these differences in women’s attractiveness are associated with hormonal changes occurring during women’s reproductive life span remains speculative.
Keywords: Fecundity; Women; Attractiveness; Face; Voice; Body odour