Men’s facial masculinity: when (body) size matters

Iris J Holzleitner, David W Hunter, Bernard P Tiddeman, Alassane Seck, Daniel E Re, David I Perrett

Masculine_faces_exageratedUniversity Press Release

Abstract. Recent studies suggest that judgments of facial masculinity reflect more than sexually dimorphic shape. Here, we investigated whether the perception of masculinity is influenced by facial cues to body height and weight. We used the average differences in three-dimensional face shape of forty men and forty women to compute a morphological masculinity score, and derived analogous measures for facial correlates of height and weight based on the average face shape of short and tall, and light and heavy men. We found that facial cues to body height and weight had substantial and independent effects on the perception of masculinity. Our findings suggest that men are perceived as more masculine if they appear taller and heavier, independent of how much their face shape differs from women’s. We describe a simple method to quantify how body traits are reflected in the face and to define the physical basis of psychological attributions.

Keywords: 3-D face shape, morphological masculinity, perceived masculinity, height, weight