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date: 05 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Humans show preferential responses to “attractive” individuals from the first hours of life onward. However, these early preferences are subject to later development in terms of increasing agreement on general attractiveness and preferences for specific dimensions of attractiveness. This chapter outlines aspects of mate choice and considers evidence for their hormonal mediation in adults. It then examines preferences for these traits across infancy, puberty, and menopause and considers potential hormonal mediation arguments for the mate choice changes observed during these periods. The chapter finds overall that expression of specific preferences is ambiguous in infancy, but there is clear evidence that preferences become stronger in late childhood and adolescence (albeit subject to disruption around puberty). There is also evidence suggesting a decline in some preferences at menopause in women. Across the developmental and lifespan literature, there is a critical lack of studies directly assessing hormones. The chapter closes with recommendations for future research.

Keywords: facial attraction, voices, sexual dimorphism, symmetry, averageness, health, sex steroids, infancy, puberty, menopause

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