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Women Prefer Wider-Faced Men for Flings

Update Date: Feb 05, 2014 12:42 PM EST
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Wider-faced men are seen as sexier flings, according to a new study.

New research suggests women perceive men with bigger faces as more dominant and more attractive for short-term relationships.

Many studies have explored whether physical dominance benefits reproduction, and whether facial width-to-height ratio predicts male dominance. Researchers note that the latest study addresses both of these topics.

"High male fWHR has previously been associated with surviving in hand-to-hand combat, aggressiveness, self-perceived power, and CEO's financial success," lead researcher Katherine Valentine of Singapore Management University said in a news release. "Our study shows it's also a reasonably good indicator of perceived dominance - not only that, it piques women's interest in a face-to-face speed-dating setting."

After studying over 150 men and women between the ages of 18 and 32 who engaged in one of several speed-dating events, researchers found that wide-faced men are seen as more dominant and more attractive.

"Our study shows that within three minutes of meeting in real life, women find more dominant, wider-faced men attractive for short-term relationships, and want to go on another date with them," explained Valentine.

The study revealed that women expressed more interest in short-term relationship with wide-faced men, and were also more likely to choose them for a second date. Researchers said the findings held true even after accounting for the men's age and independently rated attractiveness.

Perceived dominance can partly explain the link between higher facial width-to-height ratio, as measured by computer software, and greater interest in a short-term relationship, according to researchers.

"The fact that women wanted to see these men again suggests that our findings are robust - women aren't just saying they are interested, they're actually willing to be contacted by these men," said Valentine. "Previous studies have found that women prefer more dominant men for short-term relationships, but almost all of these studies were based in the lab and did not involve an interaction that could actually lead to mating and dating."

The findings are published in the journal Psychological Science.

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