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Women's mean ratings (+SD) for clean-shaven, light stubble, heavy stubble and full beards when judging physical attractiveness (A), parenting skills (B), health (C) and masculinity (D). Data are split by participant's fertility with white bars depicting low fertility, gray bars representing high fertility and black bars indicating ratings by participants who were using hormonal contraceptives. 

Women's mean ratings (+SD) for clean-shaven, light stubble, heavy stubble and full beards when judging physical attractiveness (A), parenting skills (B), health (C) and masculinity (D). Data are split by participant's fertility with white bars depicting low fertility, gray bars representing high fertility and black bars indicating ratings by participants who were using hormonal contraceptives. 

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Facial hair strongly influences people's judgments of men's socio-sexual attributes. However, the nature of these judgments is often contradictory. The levels of intermediate facial hair growth presented to raters and the stage of female raters' menstrual cycles might have influenced past findings. We quantified men's and women's judgments of attra...

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... Accordingly, an evolutionary history involving competition over mates (among males) is among the most viable evolutionary explanations for sex differences in human height and weight [26]. While hypothetical evolutionary causes are hard to empirically assess, sexual selection has provided a powerful explanatory framework for additional sex-biased traits in humans, including facial hair [27], fat distribution [28], aggression [29], and spatial ability [30]. For example: i) mate competition among males may contribute to male-biased rates of aggression across human cultures [29]; ii) sex differences in foraging throughout early human evolution (and after transitions to agriculture in some populations [31]) may partially explain sex-biased spatial abilities (e.g., labor division: females gather from spatially stable but seasonally variable food sites; males hunt across long distances spanning various routes; modern performance patterns: females outperform on object location memory and navigation by landmark tasks; males outperform on mental rotation tasks, which are associated with throwing accuracy and navigation by orientation) [32,33]; and (iii) effective mate choice may require behavioral inhibition and contribute to female outperformance on inhibitory tasks [34]. ...
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Highlights Recent large-scale studies have reached different conclusions regarding the presence of sex differences in human neuroanatomy. We show that these contradictory findings are explained by different methodological choices. While multiple large direct analyses highlight small, highly reproducible sex differences, reviews do not account for methodological heterogeneity across studies (e.g., statistical power/sample size, brain size-correction methods, segmentation, region selection, participant age). This explains many of the apparent inconsistencies reported in recent reviews. We also summarize observations that motivate research on sex differences in human neuroanatomy (including potential causes and effects), review methodological and empirical support for using structural MRI to investigate such patterns, and outline best practices for analyzing and describing neuroanatomical sex differences. Finally, we argue that broader historical and societal contexts make it important to reinforce the scientific method by adopting an actively "anti-sexist" viewpoint when conducting research on sex differences in the human brain.
... Other forms of hair, particularly facial hair, have been shown to affect female judgements of male mate value in specific social roles. For example, Dixson and Brooks (2013) report women found beards more attractive when considering fathering abilities than when considering sexual attractiveness. Others have documented that preferences for beards are strongest for long-term relationships and when assessing fathering potential Stower et al., 2020). ...
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The question of whether or not cranial hair affects perceptions of attractiveness, personality, career success, and other traits related to fitness for men in two populations was investigated in two experiments. Experiment 1 used a 2 (race) × 2 (cranial hair of man) design, and examined attractiveness, fitness, and socially desirable personality measures. Experiment 2 used a 2 (race) × 2 (cranial hair) design to determine perceived attractiveness, fitness-related traits, and the Big-5 dimensions of personality. Amount of cranial hair did not affect personality ratings on the dimensions of the Big-5 but did affect perceived socially desired aspects of personality (such as warmth, sophistication, kindness, etc.). In Experiment 1, the White man with hair received higher perceived attractiveness, personality, and fitness ratings than the bald White man, while no differences occurred for the Black men. For Experiment 2, when differences for amount of cranial hair occurred, the White man with hair and the Black man without hair received higher perceived fitness and career success ratings. These results are discussed in terms of prior research on male cranial hair.
... Potentially the most visually distinctive secondary sexual trait in males is facial hair 33,34 . Owing to the emergence of facial hair during adolescence and its full expression in adulthood, beards unambiguously communicate age, maturity, and masculinity 32,35,36 . Additionally, using photographs of the same men posing neutral expressions when bearded compared to when clean-shaven, beards increased ratings of social status 37 , social dominance 38,39 , strength 40,41 and aggressiveness 32,36 . ...
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Human visual systems have evolved to extract ecologically relevant information from complex scenery. In some cases, the face in the crowd visual search task demonstrates an anger superiority effect, where anger is allocated preferential attention. Across three studies (N = 419), we tested whether facial hair guides attention in visual search and influences the speed of detecting angry and happy facial expressions in large arrays of faces. In Study 1, participants were faster to search through clean-shaven crowds and detect bearded targets than to search through bearded crowds and detect clean-shaven targets. In Study 2, targets were angry and happy faces presented in neutral backgrounds. Facial hair of the target faces was also manipulated. An anger superiority effect emerged that was augmented by the presence of facial hair, which was due to the slower detection of happiness on bearded faces. In Study 3, targets were happy and angry faces presented in either bearded or clean-shaven backgrounds. Facial hair of the background faces was also systematically manipulated. A significant anger superiority effect was revealed, although this was not moderated by the target’s facial hair. Rather, the anger superiority effect was larger in clean-shaven than bearded face backgrounds. Together, results suggest that facial hair does influence detection of emotional expressions in visual search, however, rather than facilitating an anger superiority effect as a potential threat detection system, facial hair may reduce detection of happy faces within the face in the crowd paradigm.
... Individuals rely on various physical cues when making these judgments (Brown et al., 2021a). For inferences of men's abilities, body fat and facial hair are perceived as diagnostic of their capability to provide extensive care for their offspring (Dixson & Brooks, 2013;Sacco et al., 2020). The signal values of these features appear specific to parental warmth and resource provisioning. ...
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The selection of formidable male allies within coalitional settings is partially in the service of ensuring protection from physical threats for group members. Within these inferences could include specific judgments of formidable men as being effective at providing protection for their offspring, a judgment that could facilitate identification of prospective fathers who satisfy parenting goals. The current study sought to identify the specific value of men’s physical strength in shaping perceptions of their effectiveness in domains or protection and nurturance of offspring. Participants evaluated physically strong and weak in their effectiveness in these domains. Strong men were perceived as more effective in protecting their offspring than weak men, with this advantage corresponding with strong men being perceived as less effective in nurturance. We frame results from an affordance management framework considering the role of functional inferences shaping interpersonal preferences.
... Another caveat for muscularity necessitates consideration of other androgendependent cues that alternatively heighten perceptions of paternal ability. Facial hair connotes paternal ability (Dixson & Brooks, 2013), though it does not connote actual fighting ability (Dixson et al., 2018). These competing signal values suggest certain masculine feature connote LTM orientation, potentially rooted in parental dominance. ...
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Identifying reproductive opportunities and intrasexual rivals has necessitated the evolution of sensitivity to features diagnostic of mate value. In determining the presence of good genes through physical features, individuals may additionally infer targets’ short- and long-term mating orientations. This study tested how individuals perceive men and women’s orientations through physical features conducive to reproductive goals. Participants evaluated mating orientations of male and female targets varying in size of sex-typical features (i.e., muscles or breasts) and adiposity. Greater adiposity connoted long-term mating orientations. Large muscles and breasts connoted short-term mating orientations. We frame results from an affordance management framework with respect to inferences regarding parental investment and intrasexual competition.
... Compared to clean-shaven states, beards increase ratings of masculinity, age, social dominance, and aggressiveness Nelson et al., 2019), potentially by enhancing underlying masculine facial structure and jaw size (Dixson et al., 2017a;Mefodeva et al., 2020;Sherlock et al., 2017) Why then do men remove such a prominent cue of sexual maturity and masculinity? Women's mate preferences for bearded partners vary considerably across studies (Gray et al., 2020;Valentova et al., 2017), and there is no evidence that facial hair is more attractive among women at the periovulatory phase measured using questionnaires (Dixson & Brooks, 2013;Dixson et al., 2013;Dixson & Rantala, 2016) and hormonally (Dixson et al., 2018a, b). Instead, patterns in facial hair styles in London from 1842 to 1971 showed peaks in the popularity of beardedness during years with fewer women than men in the marriage market (Barber, 2001), possibly reflecting that men groom their facial hair in response to the degree of beardedness among their contemporaries. ...
... Compared to clean-shaven states, beards increase ratings of masculinity, age, social dominance, and aggressiveness Nelson et al., 2019), potentially by enhancing underlying masculine facial structure and jaw size (Dixson et al., 2017a;Mefodeva et al., 2020;Sherlock et al., 2017) Why then do men remove such a prominent cue of sexual maturity and masculinity? Women's mate preferences for bearded partners vary considerably across studies (Gray et al., 2020;Valentova et al., 2017), and there is no evidence that facial hair is more attractive among women at the periovulatory phase measured using questionnaires (Dixson & Brooks, 2013;Dixson et al., 2013;Dixson & Rantala, 2016) and hormonally (Dixson et al., 2018a, b). Instead, patterns in facial hair styles in London from 1842 to 1971 showed peaks in the popularity of beardedness during years with fewer women than men in the marriage market (Barber, 2001), possibly reflecting that men groom their facial hair in response to the degree of beardedness among their contemporaries. ...
... Other research reported beards were more common in countries where average incomes are lower, urban development is greater, women's preferences for beards are stronger, and sex ratios are more male-biased (Dixson et al., 2017c(Dixson et al., , 2019b. Further, beards increase attractiveness ratings for long-term relationships and parenting skills (Dixson & Brooks, 2013;Neave & Shields, 2008), including among mothers with young infants (Dixson et al., 2019a), and women in long-term relationships with bearded partners have higher reproductive success than women with non-bearded partners (Štěrbová et al., 2019). Thus, beards may be an ornamental feature that communicates men's age, masculinity, and aspects of social dominance that, in turn, may be perceived as sexually attractive for long-term and coparenting relationships rather than short-term relationships. ...
... Terminal hair growth in the face, chest, abdomen, and back are also highly sexually dimorphic, with men having significantly more hair in these areas of their bodies than women. In addition, amidst changing depilation and hairstyling practices throughout time and across cultures, people have displayed preferences for certain hairstyles in mates and altered and groomed their hair so as to appear more attractive (Butler, Smith, Collazo, Caltabiano, & Herbenick, 2015;Dixson & Brooks, 2013;Dixson et al., 2019;Herbenick, Schick, Reece, Sanders, & Fortenberry, 2010;Ramsey, Sweeney, Fraser, & Oades, 2009). This suggests that sexual selection has helped to shape depilation and hairstyling, perhaps as forms of ornamentation to increase perceived attractiveness and phenotypic quality (i.e., intersexual selection) or as cues to physical formidability, dominance, or status (i.e., intrasexual competition; Darwin, 1871;Dixson & Brooks, 2013;Dixson & Rantala, 2016;Dixson et al., 2019;Dixson & Vasey, 2012;Hinsz, Matz, & Patience, 2001;Meskó & Bereczkei, 2004). ...
... In addition, amidst changing depilation and hairstyling practices throughout time and across cultures, people have displayed preferences for certain hairstyles in mates and altered and groomed their hair so as to appear more attractive (Butler, Smith, Collazo, Caltabiano, & Herbenick, 2015;Dixson & Brooks, 2013;Dixson et al., 2019;Herbenick, Schick, Reece, Sanders, & Fortenberry, 2010;Ramsey, Sweeney, Fraser, & Oades, 2009). This suggests that sexual selection has helped to shape depilation and hairstyling, perhaps as forms of ornamentation to increase perceived attractiveness and phenotypic quality (i.e., intersexual selection) or as cues to physical formidability, dominance, or status (i.e., intrasexual competition; Darwin, 1871;Dixson & Brooks, 2013;Dixson & Rantala, 2016;Dixson et al., 2019;Dixson & Vasey, 2012;Hinsz, Matz, & Patience, 2001;Meskó & Bereczkei, 2004). ...
... Women's attraction to men's facial hair may be guided by negative frequency-dependent selection, as cleanly shaven and bearded faces seem to become more attractive when they are a rare phenotype and less attractive when they are common (Janif et al., 2014). People perceive men with more facial and body hair as older in age, more masculine, dominant, and aggressive, as well as higher in social status, which may be advantageous for men's intrasexual rivalry (Dixson & Brooks, 2013;Dixson & Vasey, 2012;Muscarella & Cunningham, 1996;Neave & Shields, 2008). ...
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Researchers have highlighted numerous sociocultural factors that have been shown to underpin human appearance enhancement practices, including the influence of peers, family, the media, and sexual objectification. Fewer scholars have approached appearance enhancement from an evolutionary perspective or considered how sociocultural factors interact with evolved psychology to produce appearance enhancement behavior. Following others, we argue that evidence from the field of evolutionary psychology can complement existing sociocultural models by yielding unique insight into the historical and cross-cultural ubiquity of competition over aspects of physical appearance to embody what is desired by potential mates. An evolutionary lens can help to make sense of reliable sex and individual differences that impact appearance enhancement, as well as the context-dependent nature of putative adaptations that function to increase physical attractiveness. In the current review, appearance enhancement is described as a self-promotion strategy used to enhance reproductive success by rendering oneself more attractive than rivals to mates, thereby increasing one’s mate value. The varied ways in which humans enhance their appearance are described, as well as the divergent tactics used by women and men to augment their appearance, which correspond to the preferences of opposite-sex mates in a heterosexual context. Evolutionarily relevant individual differences and contextual factors that vary predictably with appearance enhancement behavior are also discussed. The complementarity of sociocultural and evolutionary perspectives is emphasized and recommended avenues for future interdisciplinary research are provided for scholars interested in studying appearance enhancement behavior.
... Beards positively influence judgments of men's age (Neave & Shields, 2008), masculinity (Addison, 1989;Dixson & Brooks, 2013), social status (Dixson & Vasey, 2012), dominance (Saxton et al., 2016;Sherlock et al., 2017), strength (Gray et al., 2020;Nelson et al., 2019), and aggressiveness Mefodeva et al., 2020;Muscarella & Cunningham, 1996). Compared to clean-shaven men, bearded men report stronger feelings of masculinity (Wood, 1986), higher dominance and assertiveness , and men desire facial hair more for themselves than among their male contemporaries (Jach & Moroń, 2020). ...
... Facial hair may enhance perceptions of male age, dominance, and aggressiveness by embellishing underlying masculine facial morphology, including the prominence of the midface and thickness of the jaw (Goodhart, 1960;Guthrie, 1970). Indeed, ratings of intra-sexually relevant traits increase linearly with the quantity of facial hair, with bearded faces receiving the highest ratings of masculinity, dominance, and aggressiveness followed by heavy stubble, then light stubble, with clean-shaveness rated lowest (Dixson & Brooks, 2013;Neave & Shields, 2008). Experimentally increasing facial masculinity via computer graphics techniques in clean-shaven, stubbled, and full bearded faces revealed men's dominance ratings for masculine over feminine faces were strongest within clean-shaven faces but decreased as facial hair increased . ...
... There were no differences in masculinity perceptions due to facial expressions. These results lend further support to past studies reporting masculinity ratings rise linearly with increasing facial hair (Dixson & Brooks, 2013;Neave & Shields, 2008), demonstrating that the presence of stubble on the facial regions reflecting the most pronounced sexual dimorphism, notably the prominence of the jaw, causatively determine judgments of facial masculinity (Dixson, 2018;. Analyses of men photographed when clean-shaven and with full beards found that while objective measures of facial masculinity and jaw size were positively associated with masculinity and dominance ratings, these effects were far smaller than the main effects of beardedness (Dixson et al., 2017a). ...
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Objectives To test whether intra-sexual selection has influenced perceptions of male facial hair. We predicted that beards would increase the speed and accuracy of perceptions of angry but not happy facial expressions. We also predicted that bearded angry faces would receive the highest explicit ratings of masculinity and aggressiveness, whereas higher prosociality ratings would be ascribed to clean-shaven happy faces.MethodsA total of 106 participants, ranging from 17 to 59 years of age (M = 27.27, SD = 10.03); 59 were female and 47 were male (44.3%) completed an emotion categorization tasks and an explicit ratings task. Participants viewed faces of the same men when bearded, clean-shaven, and 10 days of natural growth (i.e. stubble) when posing angry and happy facial expressions.ResultsAngry facial expressions were categorised most rapidly and with the greatest accuracy on bearded faces, followed by faces with stubble then clean-shaven faces. Conversely, happy facial expressions were categorised most rapidly and with the greatest accuracy on clean-shaven faces, followed by stubbled faces then bearded faces. Irrespective of facial expression, full bearded faces received the highest ratings of masculinity followed by faces with stubble then clean-shaven faces. Aggressiveness ratings were highest for angry faces with full beards, followed by angry faces with stubble, with clean-shaven angry faces receiving the lowest ratings. In contrast to our prediction, bearded smiling faces were rated as significantly more prosocial than stubbled and clean-shaven smiling faces.Conclusions These findings contribute further evidence that men’s beardedness represents an intra-sexually selected badge of status that enhances nonverbal threat potentially by augmenting underlying masculine facial structures.
... The presence of a beard can produce a more masculine appearance, as a beard augments jaw size (Dixson et al., , 2018 and the midface (Guthrie, 1970;Sherlock et al., 2017). Moreover, full-bearded men are perceived as more dominant (Neave et al., 2008), aggressive (Addison, 1989;Muscarella et al., 1996) and physically stronger (Fink et al., 2007), particularly by other men (Dixson et al., 2013). Additionally, beards enhance ratings of men's age, self-confidence and social status (Kenny et al., 1973;Neave et al., 2008;Pancer et al., 1978;Pellegrini et al., 2007;Roll et al., 1971). ...
... However, findings on female perceptions of male beards are equivocal. Some studies suggest that women prefer beards (Dixson et al., 2013;Hatfield et al., 1986;Reed et al., 1990), whereas others indicate that women favor clean-shaven men (Dixson et al., 2012;Feinman et al., 1977;Muscarella et al., 1996;Wogalter et al., 1991). These mixed results indirectly suggest that beards are more beneficial for intrasexual, rather than intersexual competition: beards may signal men's dominance and aggression toward other men. ...
... Our study is the first to use physical measurements to assess participants' facial hair length. Previous studies have mainly relied on self-reports based on a four-class categorization of male facial hair: clean-shaven, light stubble, heavy stubble and full bearded (Dixson et al., 2013Janif et al., 2014). Our findings confirm that providing participants with visual stimuli is a valid and reliable method to assess beardedness, as the results showed a strong correlation between self-reported and direct measures of beardedness. ...
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The male beard is one of the most visually salient and sexually dimorphic traits and a hypothesized potential marker of other traits, such as dominance, masculinity, social status, and self-confidence. However, as men can easily alter their facial hair, beards may provide unreliable information about the beard owner’s characteristics. Here, we examined whether beards are honest signals of biological (testosterone levels) and psychological (self-reported dominance) traits. Young (M = 21.29, SD = 1.54) and healthy men (N = 97) participated in the study. Their beards were measured directly (using digital calipers) and by self-report. Participants provided saliva samples before and after acute exercise (to assess their testosterone and cortisol levels) and reported their dominance on a 5-item scale. The results showed that beard length (directly measured and self-reported) was not related to testosterone levels or dominance; thus, no evidence was found to support the hypothesis that beards are honest (or dishonest) signals of the beard owners’ testosterone levels and dominance.
... Additionally, research in the field of sociology suggests that beards may also convey competency, attractiveness, and maturity. [22][23][24] This study investigated how PPE guidance changed the facial hair of doctors working at a teaching hospital and whether these changes adhered to guidance set by PHE, while exploring the wider impacts and implications of these changes on individuals. 26 To ensure maximal inclusion, and avoid discrimination, hospital doctors of all genders and demographics were invited to take part. ...
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Objectives To investigate how personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance altered the facial hair of hospital doctors and explore the wider impact and implications of these changes. Methods A single site uncontrolled before‐after survey study examining change in facial hairstyles, and wider implications on doctor's cultural, religious, and personal wellbeing. Outcome measures included change in facial hair between January and April 2020 and whether these changes adhered to guidance set by Public Health England. Participants were also asked about the wider impact of these changes which were thematically analyzed using an inductive approach. Results Of those who completed the survey, 257 participants met the inclusion criteria. 68% (n = 67) of doctors who could grow facial hair changed their facial hairstyle during the COVID‐19 pandemic and 96% (n = 64) reported that the change was in response to PPE guidance. The odds of having a facial hairstyle that complied with PPE guidance before the pandemic was 0.32, which rose to 2.77 after guidance was released, giving an odds ratio of 8.54 (95% CI 4.49‐16.23, P < .001). When compared to those who sported a shaven face prepandemic, the odds ratio of a change in style for those with prepandemic full beards was 37.92 (95% CI 7.45‐192.8, P < .001), for goatees was 7.22 (95% CI 1.076‐48.47, P = .04), for moustaches was 4.33 (95% CI 0.207‐90.85, P = .345), and for stubble was 9.06 (95% CI 2.133‐38.49, P = .003). Qualitative analysis revealed multiple themes, including skin irritation, loss of identity, and a significant impact on participants required to maintain a beard due to religious or cultural reasons. Conclusions Facial hairstyles have changed significantly at our hospital during the COVID‐19 pandemic. Facial hair can impact upon doctors' cultural, religious, and personal wellbeing and these factors need to be considered with policy and provision of PPE.