Women's preference for male pupil-size: Effects of conception risk, sociosexuality and relationship status

Peter G. Caryl, Jocelyn E. Bean, Eleanor B. Smallwood, Jennifer C. Barron, Laura Tully, Michael Allerhand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Women differ in preference for small, medium or large pupil-size in male faces (Tombs & Silverman, 2004). We show that preference for large pupils is significantly stronger in women who were tested in the fertile (follicular) phase of the menstrual cycle than in those tested in the non-fertile phase (luteal phase and menses) or those using hormonal birth control (a pattern seen in response to many signals of male genetic quality: Gangestad & Thornhill, 2008). In addition, measures of sociosexuality and relationship status (single vs. partnered), and of attitude to 'bad boy' traits in a dating partner, help to predict pupil-size preference. We found that pupil-size preference peaked early in the menstrual cycle, 4 days before the peak in risk of conception, and we discuss the contrast with other cues for which maximum response occurs around the time of peak conception risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-508
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume46
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Attractiveness
  • Conception risk
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Mixed mating strategy
  • Pupil-size
  • Relationship status
  • Sociosexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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