Facial masculinity is a cue to women's dominance

Michelle C. Quist, Christopher D. Watkins, Finlay G. Smith, Lisa M. DeBruine, Benedict C. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Although there is compelling evidence for associations between facial masculinity and indices of dominance in men, comparatively few studies have tested for corresponding associations in women. Here we found that (1) ratings of women's facial masculinity were correlated with their scores on a dominance questionnaire, and (2) prototypes with the average facial characteristics of women with high scores on the dominance questionnaire were judged to be more masculine than prototypes with the average facial characteristics of women with low scores, even when color and texture cues were kept constant to control for effects of makeup use. These findings suggest an association between facial masculinity and dominance in women, complementing prior work reporting that masculine women are perceived to be more dominant than their relatively feminine peers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1089-1093
Number of pages5
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011


  • aggression
  • attractiveness
  • dominance
  • face perception
  • masculinity
  • sexual dimorphism


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