What is this?

This is the blog for the Psychology of Attractiveness Podcast, a monthly science podcast that highlights the most interesting and cutting edge findings from the field of attractiveness psychology. The podcast is produced by Dr. Rob Burriss of RobertBurriss.com.

Subscribe using the links on the right and interact by leaving a comment or emailing podcast [at-sign] oraclelab.co.uk

Monday, 7 April 2014

PAP: March 2014

Is our attractiveness influenced by the rugs on our floors or the art on our walls? Are we more jealous when we're surrounded by people of the same or opposite sex? And we discover why younger fathers have better looking kids.

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Are people more attractive if they are photographed in a luxury apartment, rather than a standard $40 a week rat-hole with no functioning internet? New research by Michael Dunn of Cardiff Metropolitan University suggests the answer is yes: but only if you're a man.

The articles covered in the show:

Arnocky, S., Ribout, A., Mirza, R. S., & Knack, J. M. (2014). Perceived mate availability influences intrasexual competition, jealousy and mate-guarding behavior. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 12(1), 45-64. Read summary

Dunn, M. J., & Hill, A. (2014). Manipulated luxury-apartment ownership enhances opposite-sex attraction in females but not males. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 12(1), 1-17. Read summary

Huber, S., & Fielder, M. (in press). Advanced paternal age is associated with lower facial attractiveness. Evolution and Human Behavior. Read summary

Monday, 3 March 2014

PAP: February 2014

This month, does Botox really make you appear younger, healthier and more attractive? Can we predict whether a woman will fall in love or lust with a man at first sight? And why Vladimir Putin is the world’s most confusing homophobe.

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A graph illustrating Plant's finding that people who are especially worried about being perceived as gay (high contagion) and who undergo a mating prime (being made to think about romantic partners) are more likely to express anti-gay attitudes. Note that warmth is lower amongst both the high contagion group and the mating prime group, but that it is only very low amongst those who are high contagion AND mating primed.

The articles covered in the show:

Fink, B., & Prager, M. (2014). The effect of incobotulinumtoxin A and dermal filler treatment on perception of age, health, and attractiveness of female faces. Journal of Clinical & Aesthetic Dermatology, 7(1), 36-40. Read paper

Valentine, K. A., Li, N. P., Penke, L., & Perrett, D. I. (in press). Judging a man by the width of his face: The role of facial ratios and dominance in mate choice at speed-dating events. Psychological Science. Read summary

Plant, E. A., Zielaskowski, K., & Buck, D. M. (in press). Mating motives and concerns about being misidentified as gay or lesbian: Implications for the avoidance and derogation of sexual minorities. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Read summary

Sunday, 2 February 2014

PAP: January 2014

Do Muslim men find women more attractive with or without a veil? How does sexuality influence our preferences for tall or short partners? And what are the best things to look for in a partner if you’re planning to take them home to meet the parents?

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Pazhoohi and Hosseinchari reported this month that men find women who wear a full veil (chador) are less attractive than women who wear clothes that don't conceal the body. But does the effect depend on the body shape of the wearer, or whether men judge women's attractiveness for a long- or short-term relationship?

The articles covered in the show:

Pazhoohi, F., & Hosseinchari, M. (in press). Effects of religious veiling on muslim men’s attractiveness ratings of muslim women. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Read summary

Valentova, J. V., Stulp, G., Třebický, V., & Havlíček, J. (2014). Preferred and actual relative height among homosexual male partners vary with preferred dominance and sex role. PLoS One, 9(1), e86534. Read paper

Apostelou, M. (2014). Parental choice: Exploring in-law preferences and their contingencies in the Greek-Cypriot culture. Evolutionary Psychology, 12(1), 54-72. Read paper

Thursday, 26 December 2013

PAP: December 2013

Fight fight fight! It’s a female competition special! We all know men duke it out in the name of love, honour and occasionally plain boredom, but do women also seek to outcompete members of their own sex? And is this question so controversial we shouldn’t even be asking it?

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The articles covered in the show:

Durante, K. M., Griskevicius, V., Cantú, S. M., & Simpson, J. A. (in press). Money, status, and the ovulatory cycle. Journal of Marketing Research. Read summary

Fink, B. (2014). Female physical characteristics and intra-sexual competition in women. Personality and Individual Differences, 58, 138-141. Read summary

Muñoz-Reyes, J. A., Pita, M., Arjona, M., Sanchez-Pages, S., & Turiegano, E. (in press). Who is the fairest of them all? The independent effect of attractive features and self-perceived attractiveness on cooperation among women. Evolution and Human Behavior. Read summary

Piccoli, V., Foroni, F., & Carnaghi, A. (2013). Comparing group dehumanization and intra-sexual competition among normally ovulating women and hormonal contraceptive users. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39(12), 1600-1609. Read summary

Vaillancourt, T. (2013). Do human females use indirect aggression as an intrasexual competition strategy? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, B, 368, 20130080. Read summary

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

PAP: November 2013

This month, we take a leisurely perambulation through the science of attraction, and discover how our relationship status can affect how we walk. We also investigate how pet ownership influences attractiveness, and tackle a controversial question: do women act easy as a tactic to snare men?

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Damn you, Bradley Cooper. Not only are you blessed with terrific good looks, talent, and a wallet thicker than a telephone book, you're also a dog lover. New research shows that dog owners are more attractive, especially for long term relationships. Thanks a lot, Brad. How about you give the rest of us a chance, eh?

The articles covered in the show:

Tifferet, S., Kruger, D. J., Bar-Lev, O., & Zeller, S. (2013). Dog ownership increases attractiveness and attenuates perceptions of short-term mating strategy in cad-like men. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 11(3), 121-139. Read summary

Goetz, C. D., Easton, J. A., & Buss, D. M. (in press). Women’s perceptions of sexual exploitability cues and their link to sexual attractiveness. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Read summary

Wagnild, J., & Wall-Scheffler, C. M. (2013). Energetic consequences of human sociality: Walking speed choices among friendly dyads. PLoS One, 8(10), e76576. Read paper

Friday, 25 October 2013

PAP: October 2013

This month, it’s a menstrual cycle special. We find out how changes in your hormone levels can influence your attitudes to kissing and dancing, make you flirt more, and even affect the psychology of your partner.

I've covered cyclic effects on mating psychology many, many times before on the podcast. If you want to hear more, click on the label for "human oestrus".

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Yep, it's that time of the month again. Time for another Psychology of Attractiveness Podcast, that is! Ho ho ho.

The articles covered in the show:

Cappelle, T., & Fink, B. (2013). Changes in women’s attractiveness perception of masculine men’s dances across the ovulatory cycle: Preliminary data. Evolutionary Psychology, 11(5), 965-972. Read paper

Cantú, S. M., Simpson, J. A., Griskevicius, V., Weisberg, Y. J., Durante, K. M., & Beal, D. J. (in press). Fertile and selectively flirty: Women’s behavior toward men changes across the ovulatory cycle. Psychological Science. Read paper [pdf]

Wlodarski, R., & Dunbar, R. I. M. (in press). Menstrual cycle effects on attitudes to kissing. Human Nature. Read summary

Cobey, K. D., Buunk, A. P., Pollet, T. V., Klipping, C., & Roberts, S. C. (in press). Men perceive their female partners, and themselves, as more attractive around ovulation. Biological Psychology. Read summary

Monday, 23 September 2013

PAP: September 2013

This month, it’s a baby-making special. We take a closer look at the psychology of family planning, from the link between personality and fertility, to the motivational value of baby photographs, and even condom sabotage!

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The articles covered in the show:

Skirbekk, V., & Blekesaune, M. (in press). Personality traits increasingly important for male fertility: Evidence from Norway. European Journal of Personality. Read summary

Davis, K. C., Schraufnagel, T. J., Kajumulo, K. F., Gilmore, A. K., Norris, J., & George, W. H. (in press). A qualitative examination of men's condom use attitudes and resistance: "It's just part of the game". Archives of Sexual Behavior. Read summary

Charles, N. E., Alexander, G. M., & Saenz, J. (2013). Motivational value and salience of images of infants. Evolution and Human Behavior, 34(5), 373-381. Read summary

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

PAP: August 2013

This month, we’ve got an extended interview with anthropology postgrad, Alex Hill, who gives us the lowdown on his recent study of sexual selection in humans.

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Are all those muscles going to be more handy for attracting women, or beating up other men? How has sexual selection acted on male physicality? I talk to Alex Hill to find out.

The articles covered in the show:

Hill, A. K., Hunt, J., Welling, L. L. M., Cárdenas, R. A., Rotella, M. A., Wheatley, J. R., et al. (in press). Quantifying the strength and form of sexual selection on men's traits. Evolution and Human Behavior. Read summary

Thursday, 15 August 2013

PAP: July 2013

Why we prefer our partners to be more like us, and why we want to be more like our rivals. Also, new research on emotional expression and beauty that gives us all something to smile about.

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New research shows that smiling makes you more attractive than a grumpy beauty. So turn that frown upside down!

The articles covered in the show:

Laeng, B., Vermeer, O., & Sulutvedt, U. (2013). Is beauty in the face of the beholder? PLoS One, 8(7), e68395. Read summary

Slotter, E. B., Lucas, G. M., Jakubiak, B., & Lasslett, H. (in press). Changing me to keep you: State jealousy promotes perceiving similarity between the self and a romantic rival. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Read summary

Golle, J., Mast, F. W., & Lobmaier, J. S. (in press). Something to smile about: The interrelationship between attractiveness and emotional expression. Cognition & Emotion. Read summary

Thursday, 4 July 2013

PAP: June 2013

This month we find out what a woman wants in a man can tell us about the type of relationship she desires, and why seeing red puts men in the mood for love. Also, finding it difficult to convince women to give you their phone number? We discover a simple method of doubling your success rate: buy a guitar!

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Would you give your phone number to this man? Nicolas Gueguen has found that women are more likely to give their digits to a fireman or to a man with a guitar.

The articles covered in the show:

Goetz, C. D. (2013). What do women’s advertised mate preferences reveal? An analysis of video dating profiles. Evolutionary Psychology, 11(2), 383-391. Read paper

Prokop, P., & Hromada, M. (in press). Women use red in order to attract mates. Ethology. Read summary

Guéguen, N., Meineri, S., & Fischer-Lokou, J. (in press). Men’s music ability and attractiveness to women in a real-life courtship context. Psychology of Music. Read summary

Sunday, 2 June 2013

PAP: May 2013

What is the point of oral sex? I talk to Michael Pham of Oakland University to find out. Also, do tattoos make women more or less attractive? Quick answer: it depends.

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Michael Douglas revealed today that he thinks his throat cancer might have been caused by cunnilingus. If he's right, that's one downside of oral sex. But are there other costs to weigh against the (obvious) benefits of oral sex? I speak to Michael Pham, who researches the link between oral sex and jealousy-motivated mate retention behaviours.

The articles covered in the show:

Pham, M. N., & Shackelford, T. K. (2013). Oral sex as mate retention behavior. Personality and Individual Differences, 55(2), 185-188. Read summary

Pham, M. N., Shackelford, T. K., Sela, Y., & Welling, L. L. M. (2013). Is cunnilingus-assisted orgasm a male sperm-retention strategy? Evolutionary Psychology, 11(2), 405-414. Read paper

Guéguen, N. (in press). Effects of a tattoo on men’s behavior and attitudes towards women: An experimental field study. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Read summary


Thursday, 9 May 2013

PAP: Barnaby Dixson extended interview

Episode 50! An extended interview with Barnaby Dixson of the University of New South Wales. We discuss research on facial hair and attractiveness, both Barnaby's own work and the wider research area. We cover the evolution of facial hair, the history of facial hair research, detail some of the ways Barnaby works to control confounding variables in his experiments, and find out whether researching facial hair has made Barnaby more or less likely to cultivate his very own chin warmer.

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Ryan Gosling, you bastard. One man who looks great whether clean shaven, stubbled, or heavily bearded. The rest of us look at our best when we're clean shaven. Or is that heavily bearded? Or stubbled? Barnaby Dixson clears it up in this special episode.

The articles covered in the show:

Dixson, B. J., & Brooks, R. C. (in press). The role of facial hair in women's perceptions of men's attractiveness, health, masculinity and parenting abilities. Evolution and Human Behavior. Read summary

Dixson, B. J., & Vasey, P. L. (2012). Beards augment perceptions of men's age, social status, and aggressiveness, but not attractiveness. Behavioral Ecology, 23(3), 481-490. Read summary