Facial masculinity: morphology and its perception

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Master student, Department of ethnology
Affiliation: Lomonosov Moscow State University
Address: Moscow, st. Mokhovaya, 11, bldg. 9
Occupation: Head of the Department of cross-cultural psychology and human ethology of the Institute of ethnology and anthropology (Russian academy of sciences), leading researcher of the educational and scientific center of the Russian state University for the Humani
Affiliation: Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian state University for the Humanities
Address: 32a Leninsky prospekt
Occupation: Associate professor, research associate at the laboratory of cognitive psychology and mathematical psychology
Affiliation: Institute of psychology (Russian Academy of Sciences)
Address: st. Yaroslavskaya, 13, bldg. 1
Occupation: Associate Professor of the Department of General Psychology
Affiliation: Moscow Institute of psychoanalysis
Address: st. Lyusinovskaya, 13, bldg. 1
Journal namePsikhologicheskii zhurnal
EditionVolume 42 issue 2

Over the past 50 years, a huge number of studies of facial masculinity have been published. However, up-till now, the problem of the correlation between real biological masculinity and the perception of masculinity is the key one in the researches of the human face. Scientists are aimed to identify the features of recognition, perception and evaluation of masculine traits by respondents of the same and opposite sex in different contexts. In the first part of this article, there is an overview of the biological aspects of this problem. The two main evolutionary theories on which the interpretation many of masculinity researches are based: the Zack-Hamilton parasitic theory and the Folsted and Carter immunological competence theory. Anthropologists measure testosterone-depended facial traits, including features of masculinization in the prenatal period, signs of sexual dimorphism. The second part of the review provided the key results in the field of perceived masculinity and the problems of evaluation research. The inconsistency of results in the assessment of attractiveness and facial masculinity is explained not only by cross-cultural differences in the studied populations, but also by a number of factors that affect the perception and individual preferences of a person. These are technical factors of research-features of stimulus materials, and human factors. Individual factors include internal factors (hormones, self-esteem), context (evaluating the opposite or the same sex, for short-term or long-term relationships, as well as context), and visual experience.

Keywordsfacial masculinity, biological masculinity, perceived masculinity, evaluation of attractiveness
AcknowledgmentThis work was supported by Russian Foundation for Fundamental Research grant № 20-313-70005 (Mezentseva A.A., Ananyeva K.I.) and in accordance with the research plan of the Institute of Ethnology and anthropology RAS (Butovskaya M.L.).
Publication date04.04.2021
Number of characters22246
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