Red-faced men are feeling flush with the revelation that women find rosy cheeks attractive.
The new study, by researchers at the University of St Andrews, suggests that women prefer men with a brightly coloured skintone because it indicates a strong alpha-male with dominant genes.
However, too much redness can be off-putting as it signals aggression.
The research was carried out by Professor David Perrett of the University’s Perception Lab in collaboration with colleagues at the universities of Nottingham and Durham.
In the study, women were asked to manipulate pictures of men’s faces to make them more attractive. In each case, they changed the skin colour to make it redder.
The researchers say women display this preference because a rosy glow is a sign of good circulation and therefore an indication of good health in a potential mate.
Professor David Perrett, a psychologist at the University of St Andrews, commented, “We have shown that increased redness enhances the appearance of dominance, aggression and attractiveness in men’s faces when viewed by women.”
The research suggests a similarity to female birds being more attracted to brightly coloured males.
Professor Perrett explained, “This is something we share with many other species. For example, the bright yellow beaks and feathers of many birds can be thought of as adverts showing how healthy a male bird is.
“What’s more, females of these species prefer to mate with brighter, more coloured males.
“But this is the first study in which this has been demonstrated in humans.”
The research is published by the journal Evolutionary Psychology.
Issued by the Press Office
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