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Men's Facial Masculinity: When (Body) Size Matters

Holzleitner, Iris; Hunter, David; Tiddeman, Bernard; Seck, Alassane; Re, Daniel; Perrett, David


Iris Holzleitner

David Hunter

Bernard Tiddeman

Alassane Seck

Daniel Re

David Perrett


Recent studies suggest that judgments of facial masculinity reflect more than sexually dimorphic shape. Here, we investigated whether the perception of masculinity is influenced by facial cues to body height and weight. We used the average differences in 3D face shape of 40 men and 40 women to compute a morphological masculinity score, and derived analogous measures for facial correlates of height and weight based on the average face shape of short and tall, and light and heavy men. We found that facial cues to body height and weight had substantial and independent effects on the perception of masculinity. Our findings suggest that men are perceived as more masculine if they appear taller and heavier, independent of how much their face shape differs from women’s. We describe a simple method to quantify how body traits are reflected in the face and to define the physical basis of psychological attributions.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Publication Date 2014-11
Deposit Date Mar 4, 2016
Print ISSN 0301-0066
Electronic ISSN 1468-4233
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 43
Issue 11
Pages 1191-1202
Keywords 3-D face shape; morphological masculinity; perceived masculinity; height; weight;
Public URL
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