Sonja Windhager

Sonja Windhager
University of Vienna | UniWien · Department of Evolutionary Anthropology

PhD, MSc
Lecturer

About

36
Publications
32,762
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1,001
Citations
Citations since 2017
23 Research Items
761 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150
2017201820192020202120222023050100150
2017201820192020202120222023050100150

Publications

Publications (36)
Article
Objectives: Previous research showed that male and female members of the Maasai from Northern Tanzania judge images of facial morphs calibrated to greater handgrip strength (HGS) higher on strength and attractiveness, but lower on aggressiveness than those calibrated to lower HGS. The accurate assessment of male physical strength from facial infor...
Article
Full-text available
The length ratio between the second and the fourth digit (2D : 4D) is a retrospective, non-invasive biomarker for prenatal androgen exposure. It was found to be negatively correlated with handgrip strength (HGS) in men, but the evidence for women is mixed. Such studies in women call for increased detection sensitivity. The present study was designe...
Article
Full-text available
Male physical formidability may reflect capacities to provision and protect, resource holding potential, and social status. Handgrip strength (HGS) is a robust measure of overall muscular strength and function that correlates positively with ratings of male facial attractiveness and dominance. Here, we examine strength, attractiveness, and aggressi...
Article
Full-text available
The mechanosensory lateral line of fishes is a flow sensing system and supports a number of behaviors, e.g. prey detection, schooling or position holding in water currents. Differences in the neuromast pattern of this sensory system reflect adaptation to divergent ecological constraints. The threespine stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus, is known...
Article
The aim of the present experimental study was to investigate possible associations between indi - vidual cooperativeness and facial morphology. Participants of the study were Buryats of Southern Si - beria (males: N=98; females: N=89; mean age 20 ± 2y.). Individual cooperativeness was assessed in experimental economic game “Public Goods Game”, whic...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to investigate how a female face is perceived in terms of its attractiveness, dominance, health, femininity-masculinity, and maturity in direct relation to the body fat percentage (BFP) conveyed by the face. To compare how young adults (ages 18 to 35) respond to different levels of body fat percentage both subjectively and...
Article
Background The 2nd-to-4th digit ratio (2D: 4D) is a putative predictor of a prenatal exposure to sex hormones. 2D:4D is sexually dimorphic (males < females). Studies, linking digit ratio and full facial shapes among Europeans, show that a low 2D:4D is associated with a set of male-specific facial features. Buryats – Mongolian people from Southern S...
Article
Objectives The aim of the present study was to investigate sexual dimorphism in the full facial shape of modern Buryats—people of Southern Siberia of Mongolian origin. Methods For this purpose, we have used geometric morphometrics based on standardized full‐face frontal photographs. This allowed us to assess and visualize differences in facial sha...
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Full-text available
Objectives Despite variation in lifestyle and environment, first signs of human facial aging show between the ages of 20–30 years. It is a cumulative process of changes in the skin, soft tissue, and skeleton of the face. As quantifications of facial aging in living humans are still scarce, we set out to study age‐related changes in three‐dimensiona...
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Objective and Methods This review focuses on comparative data in nonhuman primates and humans in relation to signaling secondary sex characteristics (SSC), sexual behavior, and neurophysiology of sexuality during the female cycle. Results In monkeys and apes no clear distinction can be drawn between sex as a reproductive, social, or a pleasurable...
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Prosocial behaviour (i.e., voluntary behaviour intended to benefit another) seems to be fully developed in children by the age of 6 years. However, questions about which factors modify prosocial behaviour at that age remain understudied. Here we used a resource allocation paradigm to test prosocial behaviour in 6–9-year-old school children. They co...
Article
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Objectives Previous research has documented associations of physical strength and facial morphology predominantly in men of Western societies. Faces of strong men tend to be more robust, are rounder and have a prominent jawline compared with faces of weak men. Here, we investigate whether the morphometric patterns of strength-face relationships rep...
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Studies of human social perception become more persuasive when the behavior of raters can be separated from the variability of the stimuli they are rating. We prototype such a rigorous analysis for a set of five social ratings of faces varying by body fat percentage (BFP). 274 raters of both sexes in three age groups (adolescent, young adult, senio...
Preprint
Full-text available
This comprehensive review focuses on comparative data in nonhuman primates and humans in relation to signaling secondary sex characteristics (SSC), sexual behavior, and neurophysiology of sexuality during the female cycle. Obviously, sexual activities of primates are not limited to specific cycle phases. In higher evolved primate species no distinc...
Preprint
Full-text available
This comprehensive review focuses on comparative data in nonhuman primates and humans in relation to signaling secondary sex characteristics (SSC), sexual behavior, and neurophysiology of sexuality during the female cycle. Obviously, sexual activities of primates are not limited to specific cycle phases. In higher evolved primate species no distinc...
Article
Full-text available
Significance The cliff-edge model explains the evolutionary persistence of relatively high incidences of fetopelvic disproportion (FPD), the mismatch of fetal and maternal dimensions during human childbirth. It also predicts that FPD rates have increased evolutionarily since the regular use of Caesarean sections. Here we show that the model also ex...
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This article exploits a method recently incorporated in the geometric morphometric toolkit that complements previous approaches to quantifying the facial features associated with specific body characteristics and trait attribution during social perception. The new method differentiates more globally encoded from more locally encoded information by...
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Facial markers of body composition are frequently studied in evolutionary psychology and are important in computational and forensic face recognition. We assessed the association of body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) with facial shape and texture (color pattern) in a sample of young Middle European women by a combination of geometri...
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Research on cooperation has contributed to a better understanding of the foundations of human social behavior. Most studies, however, have not considered fundamental social parameters such as an individual’s position in a social hierarchy. As a first step, this study investigates the modulating effects of socioeconomic status (SES) on behavior and...
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Background: The evolutionary highly conserved neurohypophyseal hormones oxytocin and arginine vasopressin play key roles in regulating social cognition and behaviours. The effects of these two peptides are meditated by their specific receptors, which are encoded by the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) and arginine vasopressin receptor 1a genes (AVPR1A), re...
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In studies of social inference and human mate preference, a wide but inconsistent array of tools for computing facial masculinity has been devised. Several of these approaches implicitly assumed that the individual expression of sexually dimorphic shape features, which we refer to as maleness, resembles facial shape features perceived as masculine....
Article
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Facial asymmetries are commonly used as a proxy for human developmental imprecision resulting from inbreeding, and thus reduced genetic heterozygosity. Several environmental factors influence human facial asymmetry (e.g., health care, parasites), but the generalizability of findings on genetic stressors has been limited in humans by sample characte...
Article
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Relative body weight is not only an important indicator for health and reproductive condition, but also subject to stereotypes and stigmatization. It can be reliably assessed from adult faces alone, yet the facial correlates, especially in adolescents, remain largely unidentified. This study was designed to determine the facial features of adolesce...
Article
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We briefly and informally review the concepts of size, shape, and form and how they are estimated in geometric morphometrics using Procrustes analysis. We demonstrate how deformation grids and reconstructed shapes or forms can be used as powerful tools to visualize shape and form differ- ences. Complex patterns of individual or group differences ca...
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It was recently shown that Austrians associate car front geometry with traits in a way that could be related to face shape geometry mapping to those same overall suites of traits. Yet, possible confounding effects of familiarity with the car models, media coverage and entertainment could not be ruled out. In order to address this, the current study...
Article
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During human ontogeny, testosterone has powerful organizational and activational effects on the male organism. This has led to the hypothesis that the prenatal environment (as studied through the second-to-fourth digit ratio, 2D : 4D) is not only associated with robust adult male faces that are perceived as dominant and masculine, but also that the...
Article
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Evolutionary psychologists claim that women have adaptive preferences for specific male physical traits. Physical strength may be one of those traits, because recent research suggests that women rate faces of physically strong men as more masculine, dominant, and attractive. Yet, previous research has been limited in its ability to statistically ma...
Article
Full-text available
A wide range of studies have generally found that humans appreciate certain characteristics of natural habitats, in particular the presence of other living vertebrates. This “biophilia” may reflect evolved adaptive preferences, preferences that may continue to affect our behavior today. The present study examined whether urban Europeans pay increas...
Article
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Humans' proneness to see faces even in inanimate structures such as cars has long been noticed, yet empirical evidence is scarce. To examine this tendency of anthropomorphism, participants were asked to compare specific features (such as the eyes) of a face and a car front presented next to each other. Eye movement patterns indicated on which visua...
Article
Full-text available
Over evolutionary time, humans have developed a selective sensitivity to features in the human face that convey information on sex, age, emotions, and intentions. This ability might not only be applied to our conspecifics nowadays, but also to other living objects (i.e., animals) and even to artificial structures, such as cars. To investigate this...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
The Body Image in Nature Survey (BINS) is currently seeking international collaborators who would like to be involved in the project. For more information, please email viren.swami@aru.ac.uk. The BINS is an international, collaborative project with the primary aim of examining cross-sectional associations between nature exposure and positive body image across different world regions. By involving researchers from multiple sites across the globe, the BINS will produce one of the largest datasets examining the impact of nature exposure across countries. In so doing, the BINS will be able to help determine the extent to which nature exposure is reliably associated with more positive body image. The BINS is led by Prof Viren Swami (Anglia Ruskin University and Perdana University), Prof Stefan Stieger (Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences), Prof Ulrich S. Tran and Prof Martin Voracek (University of Vienna). The project commenced in late 2020, with all data collection expected to be completed by December 2021.
Project
Fear affects health-seeking behaviours differently across cultures and disease context. Goal: To investigate the level of fear people have toward the COVID-19 infection and how that is affecting the practice of health-seeking behaviours during this pandemic. The project aims to elicit responses across cultures using an online survey. If you're interested to collaborate in the data collection, please send a message to Jacob (sarfojo@gmail.com)
Project
Targeted and precise organismal development, buffered against environmental and genetic perturbations, is a prerequisite for the development and evolution of complex life. Evidence increases that a disruption of this developmental "canalization" underlies a broad range of human diseases with unclear etiology. Contemporary biology has uncovered many of the central processes in animal development, but we still know surprisingly little about the mechanisms that stabilize these processes and guide perturbed development back to its target trajectory. The cranium is the most complex skeletal structure in the human body, housing the brain and the sensory organs, the airways as well as the masticatory apparatus. Precise and well-coordinated growth of cranial components thus is an inevitable prerequisite of functional development of the human head. In the proposed project, we will investigate temporal and spatial patterns of developmental canalization in the human head along with its genetic basis and clinical relevance by combining a wide range of theoretical and empirical analyses. We will develop a comprehensive mathematical and statistical theory of developmental canalization that enables the discovery and quantification of the central properties of canalization in observed growing individuals. We integrate this novel methodology into contemporary morphometrics and image analysis in order to apply it to longitudinal series of X-ray images, covering the full period of postnatal human cranial growth. We will use longitudinal X-ray images of twins as well as three-dimensional CT scans and surface scans of genotyped individuals to investigate the quantitative genetic basis of canalization. In patients after craniofacial surgery (mandibular sagittal split osteotomy), we will model relapse during post-operative bone remodeling as canalization towards an undesired target trajectory. This may contribute to optimal treatment planning with minimal relapse.