Cultural differences in preferences for facial coloration

Chengyang Han, Hongyi Wang, Amanda C. Hahn, Claire I. Fisher, Michal Kandrik, Vanessa Fasolt, Danielle K. Morrison, Anthony J. Lee, Iris J. Holzleitner, Lisa M. DeBruine, Benedict C. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
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Effects of facial coloration on facial attractiveness judgments are hypothesized to be “universal” (i.e., similar across cultures). Cross-cultural similarity in facial color preferences is a critical piece of evidence for this hypothesis. However, only two studies have directly compared facial color preferences in two cultures. Both of those studies reported that White UK and Black African participants showed similar preferences for facial coloration. By contrast with the cross-cultural similarity reported in those studies, here we show cultural differences in the effects of facial coloration on Chinese and White UK participants’ facial attractiveness judgments. While Chinese participants preferred faces with decreased yellowness to faces with increased yellowness, White UK participants preferred faces with increased yellowness to faces with decreased yellowness. Chinese participants also demonstrated weaker preferences for facial redness and stronger preferences for facial lightness than did White UK participants. These results suggest that preferences for facial coloration are not universal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-159
Number of pages6
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Issue number2
Early online date2 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2018


  • attractiveness
  • cultural differences
  • face perception
  • health


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