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Paper: Facial attractiveness is related to women's cortisol and body fat, but not with immune responsiveness

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  • Robert Karl Stonjek
    Facial attractiveness is related to women s cortisol and body fat, but not with immune responsiveness Markus J. Rantala1, Vinet Coetzee2, Fhionna R. Moore3,
    Message 1 of 1 , May 22 6:00 AM
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      Facial attractiveness is related to women's cortisol and body fat, but not with immune responsiveness

      Markus J. Rantala1, Vinet Coetzee2, Fhionna R. Moore3, Ilona Skrinda4, Sanita Kecko4, Tatjana Krama4, Inese Kivleniece4 and Indrikis Krams1,4,5
       
      1Department of Biology, Section of Ecology, University of Turku, 20014 Turku, Finland
      2Department of Genetics, University of Pretoria, Hatfield 0028, Pretoria, South Africa
      3School of Psychology, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN, UK
      4Institute of Systematic Biology, University of Daugavpils, 5401 Daugavpils, Latvia
      5Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences, University of Tartu, 51014 Tartu, Estonia

      Abstract

      Recent studies suggest that facial attractiveness indicates immune responsiveness in men and that this relationship is moderated by stress hormones which interact with testosterone levels. However, studies testing whether facial attractiveness in women signals their immune responsiveness are lacking. Here, we photographed young Latvian women, vaccinated them against hepatitis B and measured the amount of specific antibodies produced, cortisol levels and percentage body fat. Latvian men rated the attractiveness of the women's faces. Interestingly, in women, immune responsiveness (amount of antibodies produced) did not predict facial attractiveness. Instead, plasma cortisol level was negatively associated with attractiveness, indicating that stressed women look less attractive. Fat percentage was curvilinearly associated with facial attractiveness, indicating that being too thin or too fat reduces attractiveness. Our study suggests that in contrast to men, facial attractiveness in women does not indicate immune responsiveness against hepatitis B, but is associated with two other aspects of long-term health and fertility: circulating levels of the stress hormone cortisol and percentage body fat.

       
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      Robert Karl Stonjek
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