What does women's facial attractiveness signal? Implications for an evolutionary perspective on appearance enhancement

Benedict C. Jones, Alex L. Jones, Victor Shiramizu, Claire Anderson

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In their Target Article, Davis and Arnocky (2020) suggest that evolutionary theories of mate preferences can contribute to our understanding of why appearance-enhancement behaviors are seemingly ubiquitous. We support their argument that an interdisciplinary approach, in which evolutionary and other perspectives are fully integrated, will give us a more complete understanding of appearance-enhancement behaviors. We also agree that evolutionary theories of mate preferences have the potential to provide new insights into why such behaviors are so common. Here we use the literature on women's facial attractiveness to highlight an important limitation of this argument: uncertainty about precisely what is signalled by physical attractiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Early online date17 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Mar 2021


  • women
  • facial attractiveness
  • signal
  • evolutionary perspective
  • appearance enhancement

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