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Title: First impressions from faces : ideal partner preferences dominated by attractiveness-related concerns
Author: South Palomares, Jennifer Kay
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 410X
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2016
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When people first encounter a potential partner, they derive a wealth of objective and subjective impressions simply from their faces (e.g., age, gender, attractiveness, trustworthiness). Facial first impressions are consequential, for instance, impacting on decisions to approach a potential partner. Hence, it is relevant to have a solid theoretical understanding of how first impressions relate to ideal partner preferences, particularly as romantic relationship researchers primarily use verbal measures. The current research revealed that individuals can perceive traits and factors related to their ideal partner preferences in highly variable everyday face images, and these factors overlapped largely (although not completely) with those identified by face perception researchers. Partner preferences for face images were dominated by attractiveness-related concerns in both sexes. Further, a minimum-exposure paradigm revealed that, even in some non-romantic contexts, attractiveness is particularly salient in face images. Yet, these findings could not be attributed to an attractiveness halo effect, given that attractiveness did not dominate all non-romantic first impressions of face images (e.g., evaluations of faces in terms of occupations). There are multiple potential reasons why individuals might prioritise facial attractiveness (e.g., from an evolutionary perspective, attractiveness is a cue to fertility and resistance to environmental and genetic stressors). Of note, though, a verbal measure of partner preferences revealed that individuals prioritised warmth-trustworthiness, suggesting that face images and verbal measures may capture different elements of preferences. Therefore, these findings attest the relevance of using face images to complement verbal measures of partner preferences.
Supervisor: Young, Andy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available