From The Scotsman, April 9, 2008
People’s attitude towards sex may be given away by the look on their face, according to new research. The study into attraction, and how we find a mate, has confirmed that young heterosexual men and women are looking for complete opposites when it comes to relationships.
The survey of 700 heterosexuals in their early twenties found that men generally prefer women whom they perceive to be open to short-term sexual relationships, but women are usually interested in men who seem to have the potential to be a long-term partner.
It also found men picked out women who appeared open to sex as more attractive, while men looking for a one-night stand were deemed to be more masculine-looking, with a squarer jaw, smaller eyes and larger nose.
Scientists behind the study said people used their first impressions to make an informed decision quickly about their partner selection, and what kind of relationship they wanted.
The study, funded by the Medical Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council, involved teams from St Andrews, Aberdeen and Durham universities.
Participants were asked to judge the attractiveness and attitudes to sex of the opposite gender from a photograph of their face.
This was compared to the real-life behaviour and attitude of the people in the photos – which they revealed in a detailed questionnaire.
The experiments found that the men and women taking part could generally judge who would be more interested in a short-term fling just by looking at their expression and features.