The Effect of Masculinity/Femininity and Pupil Size on Rapid, Unconscious Appraisals of Male Facial Attractiveness
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Olsen and Marshuetz (2005) claim that attractiveness is such an important attribute that it can be appraised within 13ms, at an unconscious level. The current study aimed to replicate Olsen and Marshuetz's (2005) findings whilst introducing two previously reported cues of attractiveness as variables; facial masculinity/femininity and pupil size. If Olsen and Marshuetz's (2005) claims were correct, what effect would a variation in the masculinity/femininity or pupil size of a male face have on a female's appraisal of that face and the rate at which it can occur? Thirty female participants were presented with two versions of male faces (masculinised Vs feminised and later, large pupils Vs small pupils) each for four different exposure times (13ms, 25ms, 38ms and unlimited time). They were asked to judge which they found to be more attractive in a repeated measures design. Their responses in the first three, rapid exposure times were then compared with their response in the unlimited-time condition (which served as their gold standard answer) in order to see how many 'matches' they achieved at each rapid time condition. It was hypothesised that if Olsen and Marshuetz's (2005) claims were correct, the number of matches achieved by participants (DV) would increase as the rapidpresentation duration increased (IV). However, the hypothesis was not supported and no clear relationship could be seen between the IV and the DV. Possible reasons for the results are discussed, including a Type 1 error in Olsen and Marshuetz's (2005) study, considerable differences between Olsen and Marshuetz's (2005) study and the current research and finally a flawed hypothesis in the current research. It is concluded that further investigation is crucial in order to discern more clearly just how important attractiveness is, as an attribute.