Women's preferences for masculinity in male faces are predicted by pathogen disgust, but not by moral or sexual disgust

Lisa M. DeBruine, Benedict C. Jones, Joshua M. Tybur, Debra Lieberman, Vladas Griskevicius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Because women's preferences for male masculinity reflect tradeoffs between the benefits of greater genetic health and the costs of lower paternal investment, variables that affect the importance of these costs and benefits also affect masculinity preferences. Concern about disease and pathogens may be one such variable. Here we show that disgust sensitivity in the pathogen domain is positively correlated with facial masculinity preferences, but disgust sensitivity in the moral and sexual domains is not. Our findings present novel evidence that systematic variation in women's preferences for masculine men reflects factors that influence how women resolve the tradeoff between the benefits and costs associated with choosing a masculine partner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-74
Number of pages6
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • disgust
  • individual differences
  • masculinity
  • pathogens

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