No evidence that sociosexual orientation moderates effects of conception probability on women's preferences for male facial masculinity

Anthony J. Lee, Benedict C. Jones, Brendan P. Zietsch, Patrick Jern, Henry Connolly, Urszula M. Marcinkowska

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Abstract

Although many researchers have proposed that women will show stronger preferences for male facial masculinity when conception probability is high, empirical tests of this hypothesis have produced mixed results. One possible explanation for these inconsistent findings is that effects of conception probability on women’s preferences for facial masculinity are moderated by additional factors not typically considered in these empirical tests. One such potential moderator is individual differences in women’s openness to uncommitted sexual relationships (i.e., individual differences in women’s sociosexual orientation); women who are more open to uncommitted sexual relationships might show stronger positive effects of conception probability on masculinity preferences, as their sexuality is more overt and sexual attitudes and behaviours are more diversified. Consequently, we analysed data from three independent samples (N = 2304, N = 483, and N = 339) to assess whether sociosexual orientation moderates the hypothesised positive effect of conception probability on women’s facial masculinity preferences. Analyses showed no evidence that higher conception probability increased preferences for facial masculinity or that sociosexual orientation moderated the effect of conception probability on women’s preferences for facial masculinity. While it remains possible that factors other than sociosexual orientation moderate effects of conception probability on masculinity preferences, our null results suggest that the mixed results for the effects of conception probability on facial masculinity preferences in previous studies are unlikely to be a consequence of failing to consider the moderating role of sociosexual orientation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10245
Number of pages6
JournalScientific Reports
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2023

Keywords

  • human behaviour
  • sexual selection
  • male facial masculinity
  • conception
  • uncommitted sexual relationships

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