Study: The evolutionary psychology of facial beauty

Meta-analysis/Review paper. Top tier.

http://www.femininebeauty.info/f/rhodes.meta.analysis.pdf

What makes a face attractive and why do we have the preferences we do? Emergence of preferences early in development and cross-cultural agreement on attractiveness challenge a long-held view that our preferences reflect arbitrary standards of beauty set by cultures. Averageness, symmetry, and sexual dimorphism are good candidates for biologically based standards of beauty. A critical review and meta-analyses indicate that all three are attractive in both male and female faces and across cultures. Theorists have proposed that face preferences may be adaptations for mate choice because attractive traits signal important aspects of mate quality, such as health. Others have argued that they may simply be by-products of the way brains process information. Although often presented as alternatives, I argue that both kinds of selection pressures may have shaped our perceptions of facial beauty.
It confirms the obvious…
…..Femininity is the strongest component of female attractiveness, but it showed no association with health (although only one study has looked for this). Femininity may signal fertility rather than health per se (Johnston 2000, Johnston & Franklin 1993, Symons 1979). The reasoning is that high estrogen/androgen ratio are associated with both feminine characteristics (e.g., small jaw, full lips) and fertility. A preference for feminine faces, therefore, would target sexually mature females. Facial femininity could also signal individual differences in fertility in adult females, to the extent that femininity declines with age.
How men age in attractiveness wasn’t studied, nor cross-referenced with sperm quality, which pisses me off. I wanna see the data on that.
What do you expect, it’s mostly men conducting the studies in this field.
Recently, male facial attractiveness has been linked to genetic heterozygosity at sites involved in immune function. Future studies should determine which components of male attractiveness (masculinity, averageness, symmetry) mediate this link, and whether female attractiveness is also linked to heterozygosity at these sites. A more direct test of a link between attractiveness and immunocompetence could also be done by challenging the immune system.
However, this seems to reinforce a youth link in both sexes via immune function and cellular quality.

Scientism and peer review

http://voxday.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/the-randomness-of-scientistry.html

I prefer to call peer review what it is, friend panels. If they are your friends, you’re in. If not, you aren’t.

Science isn’t always right, science isn’t a person, it is a process. A process carried out by humans, liable to error. Humans in labcoats don’t suddenly mutate into flawless Gods of Truth in the manner of Ma’at.

Cleanliness is close to godly… honesty

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141113123316.htm

In turn, the researchers found that cleansing behaviors actually mitigate the self-serving effects of disgust. “If you can create conditions where people’s disgust is mitigated, you should not see this (unethical) effect,” Mittal said. “One way to mitigate disgust is to make people think about something clean. If you can make people think of cleaning products — for example, Kleenex or Windex — the emotion of disgust is mitigated, so the likelihood of cheating also goes away. People don’t know it, but these small emotions are constantly affecting them.”

But wait, conservatives are more avoidant of disgust!
This matches up to a study of Marxist cheating. The longer they were exposed, the more they cheated.

Men prefer nice women to bitches, hold the presses

study

Femininity and Attractiveness

Take a moment to bask in that title.

Researchers from the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, the University of Rochester, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, collaborated on three studies to observe people’s perceptions of responsiveness. People often say that they seek a partner that is “responsive to their needs,” and that such a partner would arouse their sexual interest. A responsive person is one that is supportive of another’s needs and goals. “Sexual desire thrives on rising intimacy and being responsive is one of the best ways to instill this elusive sensation over time,” lead researcher Gurit Birnbaum explains. “Our findings show that this does not necessarily hold true in an initial encounter, because a responsive potential partner may convey opposite meanings to different people.”

In the first study, the researchers examined whether responsiveness is perceived as feminine or masculine, and whether men or women perceived a responsive person of the opposite sex as sexually desirable. Men who perceived female partners as more responsive also perceived them as more feminine, and more attractive. However, the association between responsiveness and male partner’s masculinity was not significant for women. Women’s perceptions of partner responsiveness were marginally and negatively associated with perceptions of partner attractiveness. [Breaking beta]

….

Women’s Perceptions of Responsiveness

The findings of the study imply that whether a responsive partner will be seen as sexually desirable or not depends on the context and meaning assign to responsiveness. In early dating, the meaning of responsiveness is likely shaped by gender-specific expectations. Women did not perceive a responsive man as less masculine, but even so, women did not find a responsive man as more attractive. [admiring boldness?] The study helps to explain why men find responsive women sexually attractive, but does not reveal the mechanism that underlies women’s desire for new acquaintanceships.

“We still do not know why women are less sexually attracted to responsive strangers; it may not necessarily have to do with ‘being nice.’ Women may perceive a responsive stranger as less desirable for different reasons,” Prof. Birnbaum cautions. “Women may perceive this person as inappropriately nice and manipulative (i.e., trying to obtain sexual favors) or eager to please, perhaps even as desperate, and therefore less sexually appealing. Alternatively, women may perceive a responsive man as vulnerable and less dominant. Regardless of the reasons, perhaps men should slow down if their goal is to instill sexual desire.”

Women are bitchier on The Pill.

SCOTUS was actually doing you a favour for The Sisterhood, American women.
The Pill literally makes you a hormonal bitch.

http://www.livescience.com/46937-the-pill-perception-other-women.html

Among the women in the study, the higher the dose of estrogen in the birth control they were using, the more likely they were to rank other women’s appearance as very important to them, the researchers found.

The results of the new study as well as previous research suggest that the way women rank other women’s traits is likely related to the hormones in the contraceptives they are taking, said study researcher Valentina Piccoli, of the University of Trieste in Italy. However, without measuring the women’s hormone levels in the blood, the researchers could not [yet] pinpoint exactly how the hormones may have affected the participants’ rankings of other women, she said. [every pill has side effects]

“This mechanism may be a direct result of the hormones ingested via contraceptive pill use,” or it could result from changes in the body’s natural hormone levels that occur in women using the contraceptive, Piccoli told Live Science.

Previous research has shown a relationship between the levels of estrogen in combined hormonal contraceptives and increased jealousy and so-called “mate-guarding behavior,” in which a person tries to ensure that his or her mate is not interested in pursuing other men or women. The new findings show that estrogen levels may be also be related to women’s paying more attention to potential female competitors, the researchers said.

Piccoli stressed that, in the new study, the researchers did not administer different doses of estrogen but only assessed the doses of the hormone that were in the contraceptives the women took. Therefore, the study does not show a cause-and-effect relationship between the different levels of estrogen and what the researchers have called “objectification” of other women, she said.

The researchers will next look at a larger sample of participants to better understand the results, she said.

Study shows socialists are cheaters

Paper here.

Reason Coverage;

When playing a dice game that could earn them €6 ($8), subjects originally from the East, which was for four decades under socialist rule, were more likely than their market economy counterparts in West to lie about how they fared. The Economist explains the task:

The game was simple enough. Each participant was asked to throw a die 40 times and record each roll on a piece of paper. A higher overall tally earned a bigger payoff. Before each roll, players had to commit themselves to write down the number that was on either the top or the bottom side of the die. However, they did not have to tell anyone which side they had chosen, which made it easy to cheat by rolling the die first and then pretending that they had selected the side with the highest number. If they picked the top and then rolled a two, for example, they would have an incentive to claim—falsely—that they had chosen the bottom, which would be a five.

The results were that “East Germans cheated twice as much as West Germans overall,” leaving the researchers to conclude the “the political regime of socialism has a lasting impact on citizens’ basic morality.”

You can outlaw competition, but you can’t change human nature. Especially in a resource-scarce mindset.

The paper discusses some potentially related reasons for the outcome, such as the fact that

socialist systems have been characterized by extensive scarcity, which ultimately led to the collapse of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in East Germany. In many instances, socialism pressured or forced people to work around official laws. For instance, in East Germany stealing a load of building materials in order to trade it for a television set might have been the only way for a driver of gravel loads to connect to the outside world. Moreover, socialist systems have been characterized by a high degree of infiltration by the intelligence apparatus.

The Duke-Munich team positions their work against a 2013 study, “Of Morals, Markets and Mice,” which concluded “that market economies decay morals” but “compared decisions in bilateral and multilateral market settings to individual decisions rather than an alternative economic allocation mechanism.” The new research finds that “political and economic regimes such as socialism might have an even more detrimental effect on individuals’ behavior.

In another aspect of the study, the researchers note that “we did not observe an overall difference between East and West Germans in pro-social behavior,” such as donating to hospitals, the capitalist-influenced demographic does, in fact, donate marginally more. [ explained by a true sense of community, instead of just speaking about one ]

Capitalism is the best we’ve got. Until something better comes along….

A mother’s love confers measurable brain benefits

This is why so many kids are screwed up.

study

“According to senior study investigator and neurobiologist Regina Sullivan, PhD, whose previous research in animals showed how maternal interactions influenced gene activity in the infant brain, the latest study offers an even more profound perspective on maternal caregiving.

“Our research shows how in mammals the mother’s sensory stimulation helps sculpt and mold the infant’s growing brain and helps define the role played by ‘nurturing’ in healthy brain development, and offers overall greater insight into what constitutes good mothering,” says Sullivan, a professor at the NYU School of Medicine and its affiliated Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research. “The study also helps explain how differences in the way mothers nurture their young could account, in part, for the wide variation in infant behavior among animals, including people, with similar backgrounds, or in uniform, tightly knit cultures.”

“There are so many factors that go into rearing children,” says lead study investigator Emma Sarro, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow at NYU Langone. “Our findings will help scientists and clinicians better understand the whole-brain implications of quality interactions and bonding between mothers and infants so closely after birth, and how these biological attachment behaviors frame the brain’s hard wiring.””