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Previous research has shown that men with higher facial width-to-height ratios (fWHRs) have higher testosterone and are more aggressive, more powerful, and more financially successful. We tested whether they are also more attractive to women in the ecologically valid mating context of speed dating. Men's fWHR was positively associated with their perceived dominance, likelihood of being chosen for a second date, and attractiveness to women for short-term, but not long-term, relationships. Perceived dominance (by itself and through physical attractiveness) mediated the relationship between fWHR and attractiveness to women for short-term relationships. Furthermore, men's perceptions of their own dominance showed patterns of association with mating desirability similar to those of fWHR. These results support the idea that fWHR is a physical marker of dominance. This is the first study to show that male dominance and higher fWHRs are attractive to women for short-term relationships in a controlled and interactive situation that could actually lead to mating and dating.
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... For example, evidence from the Tsimane shows that men with either forms of status have a higher number of surviving offspring for their age; however, dominant men-as indexed by their greater physical formidability-marry younger wives and (like prestigious men) have more extra-marital affairs, whereas prestigious men marry at an earlier age and their offspring experience lower childhood mortality [120]. Other evidence from WEIRD societies, indicates that while women prefer prestigious men over dominant men when evaluating romantic partners, particularly in long-term relationships, greater dominance is selectively preferred in the context of short-term relationships [126][127][128][129]. Traits supporting high dominance attainment may also support intrasexual competition, and many traits that serve as dominance signals, such as vocal pitch and physical formidability, are sexually selected in men in both small-scale [130,131] and large-scale societies [126][127][128][129]132]. ...
... For example, evidence from the Tsimane shows that men with either forms of status have a higher number of surviving offspring for their age; however, dominant men-as indexed by their greater physical formidability-marry younger wives and (like prestigious men) have more extra-marital affairs, whereas prestigious men marry at an earlier age and their offspring experience lower childhood mortality [120]. Other evidence from WEIRD societies, indicates that while women prefer prestigious men over dominant men when evaluating romantic partners, particularly in long-term relationships, greater dominance is selectively preferred in the context of short-term relationships [126][127][128][129]. Traits supporting high dominance attainment may also support intrasexual competition, and many traits that serve as dominance signals, such as vocal pitch and physical formidability, are sexually selected in men in both small-scale [130,131] and large-scale societies [126][127][128][129]132]. The effects of status on female fitness, despite being consistently positive in most female mammals, is more variable in human societies and less well-studied [133]. ...
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Dominance captures behavioural patterns found in social hierarchies that arise from agonistic interactions in which some individuals coercively exploit their control over costs and benefits to extract deference from others, often through aggression, threats and/or intimidation. Accumulating evidence points to its importance in humans and its separation from prestige—an alternate avenue to high status in which status arises from information (e.g. knowledge, skill, etc.) or other non-rival goods. In this review, we provide an overview of the theoretical underpinnings of dominance as a concept within evolutionary biology, discuss the challenges of applying it to humans and consider alternative theoretical accounts which assert that dominance is relevant to understanding status in humans. We then review empirical evidence for its continued importance in human groups, including the effects of dominance—independently of prestige—on measurable outcomes such as social influence and reproductive fitness, evidence for specialized dominance psychology, and evidence for gender-specific effects. Finally, because human-specific factors such as norms and coalitions may place bounds on purely coercive status-attainment strategies, we end by considering key situations and contexts that increase the likelihood for dominance status to coexist alongside prestige status within the same individual, including how: (i) institutional power and authority tend to elicit dominance; (ii) dominance-enhancing traits can at times generate benefits for others (prestige); and (iii) certain dominance cues and ethology may lead to mis-attributions of prestige. This article is part of the theme issue ‘The centennial of the pecking order: current state and future prospects for the study of dominance hierarchies’.
... To the degree that stable romantic attachment reflects longterm reproduction investment, one might argue that this aspect of behavioral LH profile might affect leadership preferences as a byproduct of mate preference. Indeed, research has indicated that dominant traits are typically preferred in short-term rather than long-term mating contexts, whereas prestige is preferred in long-term rather than short-term mating (Snyder et al., 2008;Valentine et al., 2014). This leads to the prediction that romantic relationship quality should mediate the relationship between childhood adversity and leadership preferences. ...
... However, childhood adversity was negatively associated with both aspects of the LH profile, which is consistent with the LH perspective. Although research on mate preferences reported that prestigious individuals were preferred in long-term mating contexts (Snyder et al., 2008;Valentine et al., 2014), these preferences did not extend to leadership preference, indicating that people's social preferences are highly nuanced . Unlike the other psychosocial aspects of LH profiles, unreciprocated, general altruism may not be advantageous for followers and is thus unlikely to be associated with dominance-versus prestige-style leadership preferences. ...
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One approach to understanding leadership styles in human society is through the lens of followers' preferences. From a life history perspective, followers from different backgrounds may develop different psychological traits and social connections that are compatible with the type of future environments that they expect following childhood experiences. This psychosocial life-history profile of the follower, representing different domains of fitness investment, predisposes them to preferences for dominance-style or prestige-style leadership. We tested multiple aspects of followers' life-history profiles as potential mediators between childhood adversity and leadership preferences in hypothetical scenarios in two studies using multisite samples in Mainland China. Study 1 (N = 898) focused on childhood economic conditions, and Study 2 (N = 1233) examined childhood resource insecurity and negative life events as independent indicators of childhood adversity. The results indicated an association between childhood adversity and a preference for dominant (rather than prestigious) leaders that was mediated by indicators of relational social investment but not by indicators of intellectual, long-term reproduction, or generalized social investment. This finding represents a new direction for research into leadership preferences as well as the application of life-history theory to social psychology.
... Sexually selected traits such as the FWHR can serve as cues to dominance and formidability towards same-sex rivals or used to attract potential opposite-sex mates. The latter notion is unlikely to be true as larger FWHRs in men are relatively unattractive to women [5], although one study found that men with relatively large FWHRs were viewed as attractive to women for a short-term relationship [25]. Nonetheless, men with relatively larger FWHRs have more offspring, and stronger sexual motivation than men with lower FWHRs, which suggests a relationship between FWHR and fitness [26]. ...
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... To sum up, our results suggest that long-term-oriented men only display some of the traits that women prefer in them for long-term mating contexts, since resources but not protective skills are important for men's long-term sociosexual orientation. Previous results showed that most of the traits preferred by women for short-term relationships are important in calibrating the expression of short-term mating orientation in men (Lukaszewski et al., 2014;Valentine et al., 2014;Polo et al., 2019). However, our results are less clear about the link between traits preferred for long-term mating and the expression of long-term mating orientation in men. ...
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... However, our results did not negate the importance of physical attraction during mate choice. In the previous speed-dating studies, a dating event usually included more than 20 participants (Valentine et al., 2014;Luo and Zhang, 2009). In the present study, only four participants were included in an event. ...
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