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Title: Modality related effects of face and voice information and the perception of human attractiveness
Author: Wells, T. J.
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2011
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The process of sexual selection is likely to incorporate multiple sources of information that can be used to identify a suitable mate. Utilising multiple signals for sexual selection could be advantageous since together these might limit the chance of mating with a suboptimal partner (Møller & Pomiankowski, 1993) and thus avoid the cost of unhealthy progeny. However to date, research has focused primarily on unitary signals of attractiveness. Therefore, this thesis aimed to identify the function and relative importance of face and voice signals in human mate attractiveness, with particular reference to Candolin’s (2003) framework of signal integration. The findings suggested that female face and voice signals appear to be related and are likely to constitute back-up signals. Together, female faces and voices interact thus modulating the attractiveness of face-voice compound stimuli and provide a more accurate estimate of fertility. Male voices decreased female response latencies when presented congruently with male faces, which suggests that they are integrated. However, male face-voice integration did not enhance the detection or discrimination of attractive male faces. Rather, females’ readiness to rate male faces and voices was delayed when the stimuli were more attractive. Male faces and voices were shown to positively and independently influence the perception of compound stimuli attractiveness and in contrast to female stimuli, male face and voice signals appear to be unrelated; as such, they are likely to constitute multiple messages. While faces are proposed to signal health, male voices have been proposed to communicate information relating to dominance. Together, male faces and voices provide a more accurate estimate of overall mate quality. In conclusion, taking into account aspects of sensory integration promises to add further insight into the cognitive processes involved in mate attractiveness and person perception. Furthermore, studies investigating the integration of different modalities and in different contexts will be important to understanding their evolution, function and importance in human attractiveness perception.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available